Loud cheers from the medical profession and some economists for where the new VA Hospital and LSU teaching hospital will go. The project is one of the largest in the city's history -- with the promise to create thousands of jobs. a construction project of this stature is going to create thousands of long and short term jobs and of course a trickle down effect with companies opening to support the medical complex. But some economists and health professionals think this joint venture will make New Orleans one of the top cities for healthcare .. even creating a new industry.
Pre-Katrina, nearly 70 % of all doctors who trained in Louisiana stayed in Louisiana. That number has since dwindled, but LSU Health Sciences Center Vice Chancellor Ron Gardner says those numbers may go back up. "Doctors, like any professionals, make decisions far in advance as to one, career-wise. What branch of medicine they're going to be in and then, where they're going to train for that."
Today, local leaders announced the new VA Hospital and LSU teaching hospital will be located in Mid-city close to downtown. Gardner says the complex is placing New Orleans on the map when it comes to attracting talented students, physicians and researchers to the area. "New Orleans is back in business as a competing healthcare entity," says Gardner.
The combination of the two facilities will create thousands of jobs both in the short term and long term. "I don't know if I could come up with a single project that was this large. When we built the Superdome, even after adjusting for inflation, it wasn't even a 2 billion dollar project, so this is a big construction project," says UNO Chancellor and Economist Tim Ryan. He says more importantly .. the complex may put New Orleans in a position to create a brand new industry -- the biomedical industry. "Create new companies. Invent pharmaceutical products, invent medical device products and so forth that we can then manufacture here locally," says Ryan.
Both Ryan and Gardner expect the medical complex will rival other medical institutions in the country and world. Ryan says, "I think we'll see a real homerun for New Orleans."
It's going to be a massive complex, covering 27 city blocks between Tulane Avenue and Canal Street.