Controversy over whether NOAH will reopen - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Controversy over whether NOAH will reopen

New Orleans, La. — A state representative from New Orleans announced Thursday that Children's Hospital had agreed to reopen the shuttered New Orleans Adolescent Hospital.  But hours later Children's Hospital issued a statement denying that.

Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, made the announcement during a City Council meeting.

"We've reached an agreement and I have it here today, as part of that agreement Children's Hospital has agreed to reopen NOAH and to provide the outpatient, inpatient services for our children and adolescents who are suffering from some sort of mental health illness," he said to applause.

NOAH was closed by the state in 2009.

"We've been working on it for four years since NOAH was closed and the state and Children's have been in discussions literally for four years and as an accumulation of those efforts a lease agreement was signed between the state and Children's to reopen NOAH," Abramson said.

But after the applause at City Hall, Children's Hospital released the following statement:

For almost 60 years Children's Hospital has served the healthcare needs of the children of this state and treats more than 60,000 children annually. Mental health represents an important part of these services, which is provided on our Calhoun Campus, formally DePaul Hospital, where mental health services have been provided for more than 160 years. After Hurricane Katrina, Children's Hospital purchased and renovated the property and will continue to address and expand mental health services on this campus.

Currently Children's Hospital has more than 240,000 patient visits annually on our main campus. And the adjoining NOAH property is vitally needed to accommodate our growing demand.

Children's Hospital recently leased the NOAH campus, which affords us the opportunity to continue negotiations with the state to purchase the property.

We have been having ongoing conversations with Rep. Neil Abramson and recently met with him and other members of the New Orleans delegation.

We articulated the hospital's position that relocating mental health services from the Calhoun Campus to the deteriorated NOAH campus would not be economically feasible. We will continue to provide mental health services on the Calhoun Campus.

We are puzzled that Rep. Abramson would make a public announcement without consultation with our leadership. We hope that will meet with us shortly to explain the reasons for his announcement.

Abramson, who was contacted later Thursday, said he stands by his announcement and pointed to the following language in the signed lease agreement: "…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."

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