Sunday, March 15, 2009

LSU Finally Admits To Lying About Shared Facilities

It's true! They've been big fat lying liars.

A full tip of the hat to the T-P's Bill Barrow for this:

Building a new state hospital alongside a planned U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in lower Mid-City won't produce the initial level of savings once touted by the Louisiana State University System, according to the school's top health officer.

Dr. Fred Cerise said the primary reason is that a lack of clear financing has put LSU behind its original schedule, while federal money is lined up for the Veterans Affairs hospital slated to open in 2012, negating plans for sharing some equipment and facilities.

"We are not at a point of planning these facilities in sync and opening the same day," Cerise said last week. "(VA officials) can't plan on building a hospital that depends on the sharing of critical components."


...Cerise's comments mark the first time LSU has publicly backed away from its previous estimates of more than $400 million in operational savings over 25 years for the two hospitals, which together are slated to cover a 70-acre plot bound by Claiborne Avenue, Tulane Avenue, Rocheblave Street and Canal Street. Galvez Street will divide the two campuses.


As recently as a Jan. 22 legislative hearing in Baton Rouge, Cerise and his boss, LSU System President John Lombardi, cited the $400 million in savings through synergy as one of the advantages of the dual site.


Separate design teams showed sketches of distinctly separate hospitals with no shared infrastructure. There would be two emergency departments, two clinical complexes, no overlapping lab facilities, separate energy plants and parking facilities.

LSU's patient towers fronted Canal Street in both of its designs, while the three VA concepts all fronted Galvez Street, which was a clear divide of the campuses in any combination of the renderings.

So now that they've admitted that they've been totally bullshitting the public and public officials about the primary benefit to their site selection plan, let us all also finally admit that the whole LSU/VA plan no longer has any real merit whatsoever compared to the RMJM Hillier alternative plan.

That compromise, backed by a diverse coalition of community partners would preserve Lower Mid City, rebuild within the landmark Charity Hospital limestone frame, cost less, and more quickly restore world class medical services to New Orleans.

Let us move forward together. Support the RMJM Hillier compromise. LSU and company will have their precious biomedical development district this way too.


Jeffrey said...

What about this idea: if LSU can't get its financing (which it won't), it could be forced to go back into Charity where they will actually have to justify the costs of renovating the building to the RMJM vision, FEMA project worksheet by FEMA project worksheet.

Obama can get us the money and ensure that FEMA (the feds) will pay the replacement costs for a new hospital by only agreeing to the $150M figure as a starting point. LSU wouldn't be able to go after a new hospital because it wouldn't have all of its money, and the only road to its full replacement money is through rehabbing Old Charity.

Just a thought on how Obama's/Napolitano's FEMA can navigate this.

E said...

I think that this is pretty much what will happen. Good call.

jeffrey said...

LSU will not go back to old Charity. It just won't happen.

E said...

they'll just have to settle for a brand spanking new building funded by taxpayers in the original charity shell. boo hoo.

Anonymous said...

I think the only person lying on this issue is you. Have you ever looked at the studies which were done, the effort that was but in by people throughout LSU, Tulane, and the VA to try to come up with the most viable solution. I would say the answer is no.

If I was Dr. Cerise I would sue you for libel and have a very good case.

E said...

If Dr. Cerise wants my '93 Saturn he can have it.

Angelique said...

E most certainly is not the only one lying on this issue. Just came back from my neighborhood association meeting and lots of the friends of Marigny are behind the RMJM Hillyer compromise.

Richard P. said...

The key question is this: when the news has been about the other hospitals in the area lately experiencing financial troubles, LSU has to be seeing the writing on the wall that whatever they roll out with had darn better be super competitive. While their mission is teaching and care of the indigent, the need is to be able to get enough of a piece of the action of the type of patients who, given any choice in the past, would never have given any thought to seeking care at the old Charity Hospital. If they were somehow to go back to the old building, it's historical and all but might that also be an albatross around its own neck in possibly scaring away the very type of patients that they need to be having come through their doors. Even before 8/29/2005 there was concern over how the local hospital community would react to LSU's plans to lure patients with what at the time was planned as a facility of entirely private rooms (for the very purpose of competing for the insured/Medicare business). Now, exactly how far can they go with a building which is already a National Historic Landmark, which means that whatever make-over some might have in mind cannot be unlimited? Also, what would they need to do to assure that this renovated facility would be accredited and not just for now but for the long term? Does this architect's report even address that? What would be the worst outcome of all of this would ending up with a facility that can't stay open because the feds are not going to disburse Medicaid dollars the way that they used to and patients who have insurance won't come because even if it isn't the same old Charity they will still think that it is. LSU is not really the "enemy" in this. The Bush administration is, Bobby Jindal (who cannot never be expected to be much of a friend to New Orleans whose support he did not solicit to get elected and he's a Republican and an ideologue Republican, to boot) is and the anti-New Orleans sentiment in Red Stick is. If/when the renovated Charity Hospital is losing too much money they will be quick to say "we gave New Orleans a chance but now there is no question that the whole medical complex has to be in Baton Rouge...."

Richard P. said...

Also, it's hard to not detect a certain tone to the commentary. LSU's "precious" medical complex is a vital need to the local economy. Are we in New Orleans going to be content to be falling farther and farther behind other cities who use such facilities as major economic engines? What else do we have? In which other sector of the local economy are there such high-skill, high-paying jobs to be found? It strikes me as absolutely foolish to be taking the local medical complex for granted. At one time people in New Orleans were proud of things like the port, the oil industry complex, etc. If an attempt to renovate old Charity Hospital and make into an entity that could compete against other area hospitals and what other cities have to offer ultimately ended in failure who wins? The preservationists? The New Orleans haters? The pro-Baton Rouge or pro-northshore contingent? Who loses? All of us.

Civitch said...

@ Richard P:

No one is saying that they don't want LSU to have a state-of-the-art medical complex in New Orleans. We all support that. It's the location that's in question.

And if you detect any "tone," blame LSU. Their pattern of bad faith, obfuscation, deceit, fraud, and outright lies has not exactly engendered trust.

Richard P. said...

I am just mystified. Who's the real "enemy" in this? How is it so much LSU if what they want to do is build a medical complex that will provide lots of high-skill high-paying jobs? Anywhere else people would be rolling out the red carpet to make this happen. New Orleans has lacked the can-do leadership to cut through red tape and make this project a reality while there is apparently no shortage of all kinds of people seemingly fighting something and seemingly very foolishly so given the long-term good for the city. Remember who else is fighting this? I forgot to mention the number one actual opponent, David Vitter. I am much more worried that it will never happen at all than about any other concern; there are more than a few powerful people who don't want this at all and who have no love for New Orleans at all. If they get what they want, sure, the preservationists come ahead, too, but then we will have...nothing. How about N.O. being a vibrant place with good job opportunities to offer and meaningful commercial activity and not just tourism, etc.? Something that could be so good for all of us...and yet probably only hanging on by a thread. Everyone should fighting for this, not fighting against it.

Stephen said...

It is unfortunate that an excellent article by Bill Barrow is used by this blogger as a vehicle for invective. I support the renovation of Charity over a replacement hospital for many reasons, but those reasons will get lost in the shuffle if this type of blog is allowed to dominate the debate. We can do a lot better.

E said...

wow. Maybe I've been a too little flip in the comments here but is it really shrill or misleading of me to call LSU out for lying? Barrow's article very clearly demonstrates that LSU has been dishonest in pushing their talking points about shared facilities as necessary for economic competitiveness and improved care when in fact they're not sharing any facilities with the VA anyway.

Stephen said...

Yes, in my opinion, a little too flip. How is vilifying the opposition, as much as they may deserve it, going to achieve our goals? Why not just stick to the substance, which is damning enough, without your pejoratives?

Richard P. said...

So...if the bloggers and others all rant and rave and protest and hold hands LSU will change their mind and try to breathe new life somehow into old Charity Hospital (which has been mainly for clinics and offices for more than a few years) and try to make it into something that could work on a par with what medical complexes other cities have and try to lure patients who do have insurance to seek their medical there rather than at any of the other myriad, much, much newer hospitals in the area and this is all going to work out and at less cost than building anew? Pardon me for being skeptical. Pardon me for perceiving a bunch of zealot preservationists, may the Lord bless 'em, who are more concerned about about their righteous preservationist cause than about the economy of the city or about the health care needs. Please pardon me for seeing all this as being rather naive. Because it really, really comes across that way. And also...why all of the uproar directed toward LSU and none toward the VA who are supposedly moving ahead with their plans to build a new facility close by? Hmmm. I just can't help but get a vague that all brouhaha is hardly about preservation, anyway but more about protecting the turf of the other hospitals who don't want competition from a new LSU hospital and also about pro-Baton Rouge interests (who were not at all too shy about proclaiming their La. top-dog status circa September 2005 and about how N.O. was now under water and all washed up) using what leverage that they can get. Remember, too, that Earl K. Long Hospital in B.R. is also an aging facility that badly needs to be replaced. Hmmm...what district did the legislator who sponsored the bill that financed this outside-firm architect report represent? Where did Jindal ( who was originally a B.R. native whatever he is now) stand on that bill? If John Georges or Walter Boasso or even Foster Campbell had become governor or if someone besides David Vitter were senator would there have been all these hold-ups?