The New Orleans Naval Hospital Should Be Closed and Alternative Uses Evaluated

HRD-78-71: Published: May 15, 1978. Publicly Released: May 15, 1978.

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The Naval Regional Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a 250-bed general medical and surgical hospital which was built to serve the health care needs of active duty personnel and other military beneficiaries in the area. New Orleans also has two other federal hospitals, the Public Health Service hospital and the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital. The New Orleans metropolitan area also has two medical schools and several regional, national, and international medical referral centers. In all, the area has 30 nonfederal hospitals and a total of 7,650 beds.

The New Orleans naval hospital is greatly underused. Although it was constructed to accommodate 250 patients, its average daily patient load in 1977 was about 23, less than 10 percent of its capacity. The potential for increasing the hospital's military work load is virtually nonexistent. The Navy plans to discontinue inpatient services at the hospital. It should discontinue both inpatient and outpatient services; such action would save annual operating costs of about $4 million and permit the transfer of military physicians and support personnel whose pay totals $3.1 million. The Navy could continue to provide outpatient care at its New Orleans Naval Air Station dispensary. Neither the Department of Defense nor VA could identify any inpatient medical needs that could be filled by the facility. The disadvantages of transferring the operations of the Public Health Service hospital to the Naval hospital would outweigh the advantages. The hospital could be used for two nonfederal activities the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources could use it as an adolescent mental health care facility, or a lease could be negotiated with a private for-profit hospital.

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