Friday, April 21, 2006

Open Up, In The Name Of Medicine

The City of New Orleans is looking to taking over some of the currently shuttered hospitals and open the up on their own.

A bill designed to speed the reopening of Methodist Hospital and Lindy Boggs Medical Center in New Orleans by making them public entities sailed through a House committee late Thursday.

House Bill 515 by Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, D-New Orleans, would set up a hospital service district in Orleans Parish similar to the quasi-government structures that oversee West Jefferson General Hospital in Marrero and similar public hospitals.
I wonder if Rep. Jefferson-Bullock has any idea the amount of work that has to go into a flooded hospital to open it up again. Just to mention a few things that needs to happen:
  1. Damage assesment. This could take a few weeks at best.
  2. Programming. Determining what will compromise the new facility.
  3. RFQ - requesting qualifications from design professionals.
  4. Award the project to professionals.
  5. Design - Schematic, Design Development and Construction Documents. The whole process could take three months.
  6. Bidding. This would take several weeks.
  7. Pre-Constructon. The winning contractor would need a couple of weeks to mobilize.
  8. Construction. This is hard to say without a damage assesment but at best is would be about six months to over a year.
  9. Owner move-in. Give the hospitals a couple of weeks to move-in and then maybe two more weeks to get ready to accept patients.
If Rep. Jefferson-Bullock thinks that the only problem with the hospitals is that it needs a good cleaning, she belongs in one, preferably one with padded walls.

She may not be aware, but Lindy Boggs was built with a basement which contained the mechanical equipment and the kitchen. It's kinda hard for a hospital to function without these. The mechanical equipment will have to be completely replaced and constructed in a location above the first floor. This would be a big job and will not happen overnight.

The other problem with this proposal is that the issue of Charity Hospital is not yet resolved. Some camps suggest that it should be rebuilt. Others believe that the state of Lousiana should get out of the Charity hospital buisiness altoghether. If Charity is rebuilt, I'm not sure there will be a need for a city owned hospital system.

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