LSU to request $30 million for relocation of oldest public hospital in La.

LSU to request $30 million for relocation of oldest public hospital in La.
Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 6:08pm

Declaring the Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, the oldest existing public hospital in Louisiana, has a "noble history" but has "exhausted its useful life" as a medical facility, LSU Health officials on Friday are expected to ask the LSU Board of Supervisors to approve a $30 million plan that would close the 72-year-old facility and relocate services to a renovated former military hospital at the England Airpark in neighboring Alexandria.

The proposal is contained in a recommendation to be submitted to the board, authorizing LSU Health Shreveport to lease the refurbished hospital as well as a modernized elementary school across the street to house outpatient physician clinics. The university's health care system would rent the reconditioned facilities from the England Economic & Industrial Development District that would, in turn, issue bonds to cover construction costs.

A copy of the detailed proposal that has been added to the boards agenda his attached and is also available by clicking here.

Opened in 1939, the Huey P. Long Medical Center currently has 60 acute care beds with an average daily census of 44 patients.

During the past year, the hospital had 2,340 inpatient admissions and reported 35,986 emergency department visits. LSU ambulatory clinics, already housed at the former England Air Force Base hospital targeted for renovation, cared for more than 48,000 patients last year.

Alexandria area civic and political leaders for years have pushed LSU and the state to either build a new public hospital or consolidate inpatient and outpatient services at Huey P. Long. Both houses of the Legislature two years ago approved separate resolutions, calling for action to streamline medical care in Central Louisiana.

Proponents say more than $200 million in estimated construction costs will be saved under the tentative relocation plan because a new hospital would not be built and additional revenues would be generated from paying patients attracted by the revamped facilities. As a result, LSU Health officials project no additional taxpayer dollars would be needed for operations beyond the current $11.3 million the state is spending annually to provide services at Huey P. Long and the clinic.

If approved by the Board and LSU System President John Lombardi, work could get underway next November with both the hospital and clinic renovations completed byJuly 2014.

The board meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with committee sessions in the Board Meeting Room at the LSU System Building, 3810 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge. The board's regular December meeting is scheduled to follow immediately.

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