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Tulane Supports Governor's Charity Hospital Plan

January 1, 1997

Judith Zwolak

Under Governor Mike Foster's proposal to transfer the management of the Charity hospital system to Louisiana State University Medical Center, Tulane University Medical Center would retain all of its current medical education programs and continue to provide patient care in two of the state's public hospitals.

The proposal, unveiled on Nov. 20 and pending state legislative approval, "preserves Tulane's historic role as the original and long-term provider of patient care and medical education at Charity Hospital," said John C. LaRosa, Tulane University Medical Center chancellor. The governor's plan abolishes the 7-year-old Louisiana Health Care Authority, which currently manages the public hospital system, and gives LSU Medical Center governance authority over the state's nine public hospitals.

Under the plan, Tulane, LSU and a private partner to be named will share governance of New Orleans' Medical Center of Louisiana, composed of University Hospital and Big Charity. A separate provision under the agreement gives Tulane the opportunity to manage the Huey P. Long Hospital in Pineville, where Tulane currently provides teaching programs and patient care.

"At any given time, we have about 50 percent of our teaching program--half of our residents and half of our students--in the Charity Hospital System in New Orleans and Pineville," LaRosa said. Tulane, LSU and a representative from the governor's office hammered out these provisions before the governor released his plan in November, LaRosa said. "I think the reason we have this agreement is that the governor made it clear to all parties that even though he wanted to give LSU responsibility for the overall system, he would not do a deal that Tulane couldn't stomach," he said.

Other provisions of the plan include giving authority to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals to allocate medical education resources, such as the number of residency slots, in the state hospital system. "The secretary would be advised by a medical education commission composed of representatives from Tulane, LSU and Ochsner, all of which have teaching programs in the public hospitals," LaRosa said.

Another element of the plan provides a method to resolve disputes among the partners at any of the hospitals. In the plan, a dispute first goes through non-binding arbitration and, if not resolved there, can be appealed to the state's commissioner of administration. The governor plans to call a special legislative session in late February to address the Charity hospital transfer and other issues.

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