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$8.3M fund will boost health care in New Orleans

caines | 11/4/2011, 12:27 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ New Orleans will receive more than $8 million from a charitable fund set up as part of the settlement of a longstanding health care product lawsuit. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says the money will help provide health care in underserved areas of the city, including $1 million to go toward construction of a primary health care facility at the site of an eastern New Orleans hospital that was closed after Hurricane Katrina. The remaining $7.3 million will be distributed through a grant program managed by the Louisiana Public Health Institute. Other underserved areas in and around New Orleans also will be targeted, including eastern New Orleans and the 9th Ward. The fund was established as part of a settlement in a class action lawsuit against health care giant Johnson & Johnson involving the product Propulsid. ``This is a great day for New Orleans. This charitable health care fund brings us one step closer to building a full-service hospital in New Orleans East and will also provide health care for those who are underserved in our community,'' Landrieu said in a news release. Bringing a full-service hospital to eastern New Orleans has been a long-stated priority of Landrieu's administration. The agreement announced Wednesday calls for $1 million to be disbursed directly to the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans to help with the construction cost of the primary care facility on the site of the closed Methodist Hospital. They are building in partnership with the state-chartered Orleans Parish Hospital Service District A.