Saturday, December 16, 2006

Just Mah Two Cents, Volume II

It's probably silly to label blog posts "Just Mah Two Cents," since the posts are all me putting in my two cents, more or less; but I like the title dammit. Today's two-cent contribution is this: I don't get all the apprehension people like State Treasurer John Kennedy are stirring up about LSU building a new $700 million+ medical complex to replace "Big Charity." [and why do they call it Big Charity? Is there a Little Charity?]. Kennedy even has Garland Robinette cowering in the corner with him.

It's an expensive project, no doubt, but the arguments against it ignore the advantages which, in my humble opinion, outweigh the cons. Charity is a shithole, and even if we could salvage it, why? The state could buy another building, but why? Why don't our citizens, poor or otherwise, deserve state of the art facilities allowing staff to provide the most technologically advanced care possible? If one of our city's biggest industries was medical care & research, what's wrong with creating a complex that will entice the best and brightest to come back? Research provides thousands of jobs and millions in revenue.

As someone who works in the field and interviewed at LSU/Charity, I can tell you firsthand that those are the things that push institutions above their competitors. My decision wasn't based on facilities, but even as a native who knew what a hellhole Charity was, I was MORTIFIED by the condition of a place where we expect people to go to get better. And the idea that rebuilding an LSU/Charity hospital means we go back to the same two-tier system we had before is ludicrous. The best hospitals are places where those with private and public insurance WANT to go for treatment; and a building has nothing to do with deciding on how health care will be paid for. Even if people on Medicaid have a "medical home," as is proposed, people still need to go to the hospital sometimes.

Lately our citizens' uncanny talent for choosing to not take bold, brave new steps that will likely benefit us, all the while choosing to take bold steps in the wrong direction(e.g., re-electing Jefferson) seems to be resurfacing. I hope we don't fuck this up too.

By the way, I decided to do my training in Chicago at a Top 10 ranked hospital.


Ray said...

I agree. You know why people travel from around the world to get health care in Houston? Because in Houston they spent billions building state-of-the-art facilities.

Growing up on the Westbank, I remember how much rejoicing there was when Jo Ellen first opened, because "thank GOD I won't end up in Charity any more if I get in a wreck". It was the last place in the world you wanted to end up if you were sick.

We upgraded our zoo from its century-old legacy. We can do the same with the frickin' hospitals.

The building is lovely though. Maybe we could turn it into a giant laser tag arena.

E.J. said...

Nah, I think it should go condo. Not enough condos planned for this area.