The massive University Medical Center (UMC) is near completion, but there still are some construction and patient housing issues to be resolved before 180 patients move into the new facility on Aug. 1.
At a presentation before the New Orleans City Council's Community Development Committee on July 15, Greg Feirn — CEO of LCMC Health, which runs the Interim LSU Hospital, Touro, Children's Hospital, New Orleans East Hospital and several other health centers — said the hospital center along Tulane Avenue is on track to open with state-of-the-art facilities, more than 400 patient beds, 56 exam rooms, 19 operating rooms, five trauma rooms and a secure "isolated inpatient unit" for prison inmate patients. The $1.1 billion, 2.3-million-square-foot development will employ 2,000 people, including 600 physicians. On Aug. 1, 180 patients from the interim LSU hospital will move "all in one day" into the new medical center, Feirn said.
New Orleans City Council members had received a tour of the new center and were largely impressed. District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry, however, asked whether a pedestrian bridge (for patients, employees and patients' families) linking the center on either side of Tulane Avenue will be complete before Aug. 1. Feirn said it would not.
"The medical people are going to have to walk out in traffic if we don't get this built," she said. "We're putting people at risk. ... We're making them cross the street ... all because of a design dispute."
Feirn also said there are no current plans for using the 38 mental health beds at the DePaul-Tulane Behavioral Health Center once it moves patients there to the UMC. A separate facility at DePaul for adolescent beds will remain. But for now, LCMC will move adult patients into the 60-bed mental health facility at UMC and "build capacity." Feirn said the DePaul facility possibly could be used as "a unit for additional capacity."