Graduate Students

Tulane and Louisiana State U. Differ Over Governance of New Teaching Hospital

June 22, 2009

Louisiana State University and Tulane University appear to be at an impasse over governance of a new teaching hospital in New Orleans, according to news reports. At issue is how much control the Louisiana State system should have on the board of a 424-bed hospital, which is expected to open in 2013 and cost around $1.2-billion.

Last week Tulane officials approved a plan that would give LSU four seats on a 12-member board. The LSU system’s Board of Supervisors amended the plan today to give LSU five seats on an 11-member board, The Times-Picayune reported. LSU deserves the additional clout, officials told the New Orleans newspaper, because the university would be responsible for backing $400-million in bond debt.

“We need to be in control,” Hank Gowen, a member of the LSU board, said before the vote. “We are the ones who are going to borrow $400-million.”

According to the Associated Press, Tulane officials rejected the plan and issued a statement saying that LSU’s move “indicates that Tulane and LSU have fundamental and philosophical differences with respect to the board composition and the appropriate safeguards and independent oversight of the proposed academic medical center.”

Both medical schools’ teaching hospitals were flooded and badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina. The interim downtown hospital they plan to use until the new hospital is built faces financial pressures, in addition to tensions caused by the governance feud between the two universities. —Katherine Mangan