It's been a major complaint of people who live in New Orleans East, when will they get a hospital and health care close to home. Well now there are answers as one lawmaker blames former city leaders for the delay.
The turning of soil on Read Blvd. represents a new post-Katrina era in New Orleans East. Promised for the fall of 2013, the Daughters of Charity Health Centers will open a new state-of-the-art primary care clinic.
"It's been a dream of Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans for a very longtime. But even more so, it's been a dream and a hope of the people of New Orleans East that we would provide health care in this community, said Sister Marie Therese Sedgwick of the Daughters of Charity.
Their other clinics in Metaire, the Bywater at St. Cecilia and on Carrollton Ave. at Earhart Blvd., manage 30,000 patients a year, especially those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma.
"An average cost (for a medical visit) could be approximately $100 in a primary care setting, where it could be $1,000 in an intensive workup in an emergency room for the same illness. We get you in and out within 30 minutes and you could go to the emergency room and spend half a day," said Michael Griffin, the CEO of the Daughters of Charity Health Centers.
"Now even though the new Daughters of Charity health care clinic won't be ready until the fall of 2013, they've already opened a temporary clinic in an office building on the Methodist Hospital campus grounds. It's in suite 550 and already in just the last three weeks, they're seeing 20 patients a day.
But on this same campus, is a separate issue, the still unopened battered Methodist Hospital. It's an issue that goes back to the Nagin administration.
"People want a hospital. That's what they are interested in. We've got to go several miles on the other side of the Industrial Canal, all the way downtown, into Downtown New Orleans or beyond, in order to receive health care," said New Orleans Councilman Jon Johnson who represents District E. "It should have been a priority of the previous administration. We got $411 million of capital monies for rebuilding the areas that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. This area was affected more than any other area and the Lower Ninth Ward. At least $100 million of that money should have been dedicated to rebuilding this hospital. We only got $40 million. So now what we're having to do, is to go and try to find the rest of the money."
"The hospital is on schedule to open at the end of 2013. We're rapidly moving in to a cycle where you're going to start seeing remediation of the site, then some demolition of the interior walls and then construction in the winter," said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the City of New Orleans Health Commissioner.
Now the 77,000 residents in the east, have a timeline for health care.
The new two-story clinic will be 32,000 square feet and built at an estimated cost between six and seven and a half million dollars.
The clinic treats adult and pediatric medical patients as well as dental, behavioral and eye care patients.
Metairie, (Causeway Blvd.): 504-482-0084
N.O. East: 504-248-5357