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Louisiana hospital money granted

New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 21, 2008

The quest to contruct a hospital in Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish got a major boost when up to $25 million in state redevelopment grants were allocated for the project. The financing comes with restrictions, however, that highlight deepening divisions over how large the hospital should be and who will run it. Ochsner Health System has offered to build a 20-bed hospital at a cost of about $20 million, which would be covered by the grant money. Another proposal from the Franciscan Mission of Our Lady Health System is for a $78 million, 60-bed hospital and medical office building that would require more than $50 million in loans. While Parish President Craig Taffaro would not explicitly endorse the Ochsner proposal, he said the parish cannot afford to be weighed down by debt as it struggles to recover from Hurricane Katrina.