February 1, 2006

HCA to reopen hospital in downtown New Orleans

CHICAGO (Reuters) - HCA Inc., the nation's biggest hospital
operator, said on Wednesday it will reopen Tulane Medical
Center for limited service in February, becoming the first
hospital to reopen in downtown New Orleans since Hurricane
Katrina decimated the city.

HCA Chief Executive Officer Jack Bovender, on a conference
call after the company reported quarterly earnings, said HCA
aims to get Tulane Medical Center back to full service in June.

Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA had evacuated patients from
Tulane University Hospital, which had 325 beds, when the storm
hit in late August. It had three affiliated hospitals in the
region and one in Gulfport, Mississippi, that were affected by
the storm.

Bovender said insurance will cover the costs for 2006, but
that looking beyond then, it is a risky proposition.

"Obviously, we are not certain exactly what is going to
happen in that community there. We are not sure exactly what
the patient mix is going to be. The out-years (past 2006) is
where our concern is and that is where we are making this leap
of faith," Bovender said.

Several other hospital companies, including Tenet
Healthcare Corp., Universal Health Services Inc. and Triad
Hospitals Inc., have hospitals in the region.