- Damage from Hurricane Katrina a decade ago shut down New Orleans' Charity Hospital, but a vastly improved primary care network has been built in the city.
- The hospital served as the primary care facility for the poor for years, but the clinics have made that care more accessible for many.
- A replacement hospital for Charity, University Medical Center New Orleans, opened earlier this month -- but much of the primary care work has shifted to the clinics.
Not a lot of hospitals have songs written about them by local legends, but Charity was not just any hospital. For New Orleans' most needy, it represented the sole source of primary care for generations. But it closed after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina, despite efforts to save it.
A new hospital has arisen in its wake, but for many of the poor, a better option now is available -- a system of primary care centers that are more accessible than Charity.
"Before Katrina, there was no primary care or preventive medicine — really, truthfully — for patients. None. Zero," Dr. Mary Abell, medical director of St. Thomas Community Health Center, told NPR.