VA-Tulane deal unravels with financial complications

A plan that would have had the Department of Veterans Affairs and a replacement facility for Charity Hospital work in tandem as part of New Orleans's reconstruction effort has frayed, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The VA and University Medical Center projects will no longer have a central energy source as previously planned, even though they essentially will share a single-site 70-acre campus near the city center, anchoring what is called a "biocorridor" expected to generate economic growth. Officials say the energy plan is symbolic of a reduced number of synergies between the two facilities.

The reasons appear to be diametrically opposite paths the two projects are taking financially. The $995 million VA project is already funded via Congressional appropriations and is expected to open in 2014. Meanwhile, financing and business plans remain up in the air for the UMC project, which will be controlled by Tulane University and open no earlier than February 2015.

However, officials say the VA will still contract with the UMC for trauma and oncology services.

For more:
- read the Times-Picayune article
- visit the New Orleans BioDistrict website