Doctors For Charity Hospital

We are at a critical moment in New Orleans history. We are in the middle of a health care crisis that demands the immediate attention of medical professionals, city planners, and concerned citizens across the region.

Since Charity Hospital was closed by LSU officials in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, health concerns have ranked the highest for New Orleans citizens. Nearly half of New Orleans residents are reporting limited health care options and a reduced access to health care services.

As doctors and medical professionals living and working in the New Orleans area, we have seen this crisis firsthand. Day in and day out we see the effect on our patients and neighbors.

A new hospital is desperately needed. It must be a hospital that restores better health care services than existed before Katrina and it must be built and operational as quickly as possible.

A new hospital can and should be rebuilt to address the health care crisis in New Orleans. Having worked and trained at Charity before Hurricane Katrina, we know the problems Charity Hospital faced. In recent years, there were struggles to adhere to JCAHO standards (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) as a result of deferred maintenance and the failure to adequately fund the hospital.

Because the Charity building is currently vacant, there is a unique opportunity to rebuild Charity Hospital better than before within the existing structure. Doctors For Charity supports the rebuilding and reopening of Charity for the following reasons:

1) Rebuilding within Charity Hospital is the best option to provide comprehensive and state-of-the-art health care and research in the City of New Orleans and the region.

2) The proposal to rebuild Charity Hospital is the fastest option to alleviate the current health care crisis. At a time when the absence of a new hospital is a life-or-death matter, every day counts. The proposed hospital in Lower Mid-City would be completed by 2018 at the earliest. By contrast, THE alternative proposal by RMJM Hillier (who designed the LSU Cancer Research Center) could be opened in 42 months, opening by Thanksgiving, 2012.

3) Rebuilding Charity Hospital is an opportunity to attract top medical talent as a premier research center and training facility. 75 percent of Louisiana's medical professionals were trained at Charity Hospital, which has been the site of major contributions to the advancement of health and medicine. Concentrating resources in a medical district further serves the needs of research and medical education.

- Sincerely, Steering Committee of Doctors for Charity Hospital