NEW ORLEANS—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the City of New Orleans has closed on its purchase of the former Methodist Hospital from Universal Health Services (UHS) for $16.25 million.
"Signed, sealed, delivered," remarked Landrieu. "It has been nearly five years since Hurricane Katrina, and more than 80,000 residents in eastern New Orleans still have to drive up to 30 minutes to an emergency room. That's why it's so important that we put in place a full-service hospital that is financially sustainable over time as quickly as possible. It has been one of my top priorities since taking office. "
"Our goal is to restore full healthcare services to eastern New Orleans," said Judy Reese Morse, Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff. "We have consistently heard in community meetings in New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward that this is a top priority. We are now delivering on this promise."
Ronnie Burns, Chairman of the Hospital Service District Board that will oversee the development and operation of the hospital stated, "This is a great day for the citizens of New Orleans. We purchased the property that paves the way for a first-class hospital for the citizens of New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward, and Gentilly. We thank Mayor Landrieu for his leadership in providing access to health care for all of New Orleans and we look forward to working with him in the coming months and years."
During the transition period before Landrieu took office, he met with the CEO of UHS, convened a Health Care Task Force and also established a Methodist Hospital subcommittee to make recommendations for health care in eastern New Orleans.
In his first days in office, Landrieu convened a working group on the issue. Its mission was to create a visioning document to articulate the broad goals for the future of health care in eastern New Orleans. As part of that effort, focus groups were conducted with physicians, hospital administrators and business and community leaders.
The City also hired Compass Clinical Consulting to produce a technical plan that outlined programming, operating costs and other aspects for a hospital.