Posted by tchoupedup on nola.com
January 21, 2010
I attended the meeting and, in correction to the T-P article, not one commissioner from the Audubon Institute was present. Although Ron Foreman attended, he is not a commissioner.
Hospital representatives Brian Landry, VP Marketing and Steve Worely, Chief Executive gave an overview of the proposed expansion. Afterwards each person from the neighborhood was allowed to speak for 3 minutes each. Amazingly the hospital representatives could not advise the impact of the expansion on the following areas of concern to residences (nor did they have any current plans to study them):
1) Traffic increase in an extremely limited access area.
2) Environmental impact.
3) Flooding (due to increase run off from loss of vegetation / "green" space").
4) Parking: were they in compliance with number of parking spaces required per sq ft and what would be the impact on residential off street parking?
5) Lease Agreement: how much would Children's pay to lease the land from the Audubon Institute? (The representatives would not give a "ball park" number. Is it possible for Children's and Audubon to have gone this far into the project without some idea of lease cost?)
6) What alternate sites had been considered? (Note: this expansion is for ambulatory and outpatient care and doctors offices - not inpatient beds). Why not consider other sites including NOAH, DePaul or other areas with poor medical service (e.g. New Orleans East)?
7) Construction: What would be the ultimate bldg heights, long term footprint and construction timeline / impact on neighborhood?
In summary, the general message was trust us (Children's and Audubon) on this expansion. Sorry, but no matter how well intended a project is, it still needs to be professionally studied and legitimate concerns addressed.
Finally, the 2007 year end Children's hospital financial statement (latest statement I could find available to the public) shows:
Income Statement (P&L)
Total Revenue: $253,505,217
Total Expenses: $184,855,579
Net Gain: $68,649,638 (Earnings over 27% of revenue)
Total Assets: $888,908,078
(Includes $12M in cash and $740,090,726 in securities)
Total Liabilities: $525,043
Net Worth: $887,275,268
It appears that Children's Hospital isn't quite your average hardscrabble 501 (c) (3) Public Charity. Perhaps they could use their near billion dollars in assets to put an outpatient care facility in one of the more destitute parts of the city and (gasp) reduce the cost of patient care?