BATISTE: $90,000 Per Tent Needs Explaining

As the Wuhan Flu numbers seem to indicate a flattening of the curve, now is a more appropriate time to look at some of the otherworldly expenditures that will be left to the American taxpayers, as mentioned by MacAoidh. The first of which is the pop-up hospital at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and the cost per isolation tent therein.

On Saturday, April 4, The Advocate posted an article about the emergency hospital that was scheduled to open on the coming Monday. The construction demonstrates both the strength of the American workforce and the irresponsibility of American politicians and journalists.

1,000 isolation tents were setup at the stated cost of “more than $90,000,000” (90 million dollars) to “build, equip, and staff.” Some easy math shows that the cost comes to $90,000 per tent. While this no doubt raised red flags to many readers, The Advocate and its staff, along with all the media outlets in New Orleans and Louisiana, seem to find $90k per tent unworthy of further coverage.

The purpose of the Medical Monitoring Station, as it’s called, per The Advocate is “to treat COVID-19 patients who no longer need acute treatment at a hospital but still require care they can’t get at home, said Dr. Meghan Maslanka, the site’s medical operations manager.”

The article described the tents as the size of a backyard shed: “the isolation tents are air-conditioned but sparsely furnished. Besides a bed, pillow and blanket, there’s a folding chair, a TV tray and an office-style telephone. There’s also an electric outlet, a small potted plant, an IV stand and other medical supplies.”

Whether the funds for the emergency hospital were drawn from Louisiana’s treasury or the United States’ treasury, they both fall on the American taxpayers. National and local journalists have opted to politicize the pandemic, rather than work for the hardworking, taxpaying population.

On March 29, governor John Bel Edwards and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell held a joint press conference about the pop-up facility to help treat Wuhan Flu victims. Edwards said, “Understand that this is a non-acute hospital setting. These patients who come here are not going to be fragile, they are not going to need a vent. And we believe that they will only need to be here for a relatively short period of time before they can be discharged home. If they’re not meeting those criteria then they’re not going to come here.”

Edwards answered a question which could also apply as to the “why” officials think the pop up hospital was needed, “Absent a facility like this, not only this community but every other community in region one will be much more at risk because these individuals wouldn’t have anywhere to go.”

At the same March 29 press conference, Dr. Alex Billioux of the Louisiana Office of Public Health said, “The goal here is really to have a unit for folks who are all but ready to go home.”

The Morial Medical Monitoring Station is a just in case facility at $90,000 per bed.

As of Monday, April 13, the convention center hospital has had “about 70 patients,” per Louisiana’s Assistant Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. That likely means “about” 70 tents have been occupied of the 1,000 created. While it may seem absolutely absurd that the Louisiana health official provided an unspecific estimate during this pandemic, it was likely intentional to play up the use even the slightest. 70 patients would be a presumed $6,300,000 worth of tents out of $90 million.

The Advocate article also quoted Dr. Kanter saying, “How great would it be if we didn’t need half this?” Obviously, for health reasons, no one wanted to see hospitals full and those tents occupied by recovering New Orleanians. However, to be excited about wasting $45 million seems not just reckless, but unethical.

The Hayride reached out to Kanter for the precise number of patients treated and number of tents used as well as Edwards for a comment on the cost. Neither have responded.

In fairness, Kanter said back in early April that he did not anticipate all 1,000 beds being used. He told WVUE on Monday, “The way we think about this is kinda like the way we think about preparing for a hurricane. You do all your preparations. You bring all your things inside. You evacuate if you need to. But you hope and pray that you don’t have to.” Spoken like a politician spending other people’s money.

The Morial pop-up hospital needs a full examination by the Inspector General, the U.S. Attorney, and investigative journalists because the people of Louisiana deserve to know more about this exorbitant spending.



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