Concerns raised about proposed new hospital complex

Normally competition is a good thing, but there are concerns that a new South Lake Charles Hospital complex could hurt medical care at other area hospitals. In its letter to the city, Derek Development introduces it's Imperial Point proposal off Nelson Road as an 85-thousand square foot medical clinic and two new hospitals to key the proposed project.

While no one publicly opposed the development at a recent Lake Charles Planning and Zoning meeting, there are rumblings within the medical community about whether competition from specialty medical services would jeopardize the financial viability of existing community hospitals in the Lake area-- it's not the Lake Charles City Council's job to resolve those issues but Council will address whether to annex property into the city and whether to issue major conditional use permits as assistant director of planning and zoning Doug Burguieres explains.  "They will hear the request for annexation. The second item is assigning zoning classification. for the annexation. The third item they will be considering is the actual development proposal for the hospital as well as the mixed use retail and residential portion of the development."

Burguieres says the issue will be introduced at the July 6th meeting where there's no discussion, but that people can address council members when its up for final approval on July 20th. "It's a public hearing so they will have an opportunity to voice support or concerns or opposition of the project. It is an opportunity for anyone to speak. They need to fill out a card prior to making their presentation to the city council."

At this point, State Health Department officials say they've received nothing regarding a new hospital opening in Lake Charles.

The issue will come up for final approval before Lake Charles City Council at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday July 20th. Again, City Council will only vote on the land use and annexation-- not issues related to the effect on existing hospitals in our area.