NOAH deal drowns
25th March 2013 · 0 Comments
By Christopher Tidmore
Speaking before the New Orleans City Council on Thursday, State Representative Neil Abramson announced to great fanfare and applause that Children’s Hospital had agreed to reopen the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital (NOAH) in Uptown New Orleans.
The problem was that Children’s Hospital administrators declared a few hours later that they had made no such commitment. Spokesper-sons for the Tchoupitoulas-based medical center said that they were “puzzled” that the District 98 legislator would make such a claim without “consulting our leadership.”
Children’s Hospital reps then admitted that they had been in negotiations with the State to purchase the former NOAH Campus, but had no plans to transfer their mental health facilities from the current Calhoun Campus—formally known as DePaul’s Psychiatric Hospital.
However, later that day, a very perplexed Rep. Abramson produced the January 25, 2013 lease agreement between Children’s Hospital and the State Department of Administration. The first page of the agreement clearly notes that “Children’s desires to lease the property … in accordance with ACT 867 and will use said property in the furtherance of Lessee’s mission of child and adolescent pediatric, health care, pediatric mental health care and medical education in the City of New Orleans.”
Act 827 mandated that the property had to be used for its previous function, essentially inpatient and outpatient mental health services. This has been a major cause of Rep. Abramson’s since the closure of NOAH in 2009.
Apparently, the dispute rests in a provision of the lease agreement that allows for “mental health” or “other hospital services.” Act 867 demands that the buildings be used as they were “prior to 2010,” but Children’s interprets that as any medical treatments, as long as mental health services are provided by the hospital at large.
The Uptown State Representa-tive’s Press Secretary Faith Abadie said of the dispute, “Representative Abramson received the signed document only days ago from the Division of Administration and eagerly and publicly offered thanks to Children’s before the New Orleans City Council. The release distributed by Children’s noting that they are ‘puzzled’ is now puzzling to Representative Abramson.”
There was no response from Children’s to the release of the lease agreement when The Louisiana Weekly went to print.
This article originally published in the March 25, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.