May 29, 2009

Good Morning:

There is an ongoing debate about the plans for the new publicly funded hospital that will replace Charity Hospital, which along with University Hospital makes up the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (MCLNO). MCLNO is Tulane’s largest training site for its physician residency program and is critical to the future of our School of Medicine and the training of doctors for our state.

But beyond Tulane, there is an urgent need in New Orleans for a new public hospital that will provide quality medical care for our under- and uninsured citizens, as well as train the city’s healthcare workforce.

Representative Jim Tucker has introduced a bill (HB 830) into the Louisiana Legislature that will transfer ownership of MCLNO to an independent board of trustees, as well as create a new entity to govern MCLNO. Based on our 175 years of experience at Charity Hospital, we believe this bill gives New Orleans the best chance to build and operate a high quality patient care and physician training facility.

The new ownership and governing boards of MCLNO will include individuals with the experience, competence and focus to oversee this valuable community resource. Independent oversight, along with public accountability, will make sure that public funds are appropriately utilized as we build and operate an exemplary medical center.

We also support HB 830 because of what will transpire without it. In 1997 the Legislature enacted statutes that transferred the ownership and operations of MCLNO to the LSU Board of Supervisors, subject to governance by the MCLNO Administrative Board.

Since Katrina, Tulane, Dillard and Xavier (members of that Administrative Board) have, without success, sought to enforce compliance with the statutes. A letter from the Department of Health and Hospitals reaffirms the authority of the legislative statutes, including the authority of the Administrative Board.

Without HB 830, we will remain where we have been since 2005 and enforcement of the statutes will eventually be settled through the courts, or some other dispute resolution process. In the meantime, the community suffers. This is why HB 830 is important.

I realize this is a very complex issue, and today’s Tulane Talk is a snapshot of HB 830 and what it will bring to New Orleans. For more information visit


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