The Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government approved a recommendation today, requiring an independent study to evaluate the overall plan for the proposed LSU/VA medical centers in Mid-City. A source from within the commission says that the study will look at all of the options for the medical centers, including rebuilding Big Charity hospital, or constructing a new site to house both the LSU teaching hospital and the VA medical center.
The streamlining commission, which was created in an effort to reform government and eliminate bureaucratic waste, reports to Governor Jindal, who can either act on or reject specific recommendations.
The full commission took up the matter this morning after an advisory committee, headed up by state treasurer John N. Kennedy, had earlier proposed a recommendation for renovating Big Charity in order to save the state $300 million. After hearing testimony from both sides of the issue including representatives from the states Department of Health and Hospitals, LSU officials, National Trust for Historic Preservation and local activists the commissions chair, state senator Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville) presented an amended version of the recommendation, calling for the independent evaluation. The amended version passed by a 7-3 vote.
Even though the recommendation was changed from renovating Big Charity to conducting an independent study, local organization Save Charity Hospital considers todays vote to be a victory.
(The study) has been something thats critical, and should be something that everybody can agree upon because this is the biggest economic development project in the citys history, says Jonah Evans, spokesperson for Save Charity Hospital.
The commission must submit its initial proposals to the governor and the legislature by December 15.