BATON ROUGE -- Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined community leaders and officials from Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL) and LSU to mark the opening of the new LSU Health Baton Rouge Urgent Care Center in North Baton Rouge. The new facility on Airline Highway will continue to provide care for residents in the Baton Rouge area as an alternative to hospital emergency rooms and is part of the state's historic public-private hospital partnerships that strengthen care for the people of Louisiana, lower costs and improve graduate medical education for future doctors across the state. The public-private partnerships are part of a plan by the state to address the $1.8 billion reduction handed down by Congress last year. The partnership between LSU and OLOL saved hundreds of millions of dollars that would have been used to build a replacement for the old Earl K. Long facility, which was outdated and did not meet accreditation standards.
The new LSU Health Baton Rouge Urgent Care Center is a 6,965 square foot expansion in comparison to its previous facility. LSU Urgent Care takes walk-in patients to treat minor injuries and illness such as broken bones and flu-like symptoms, and is staffed 24/7. These LSU Urgent Care services have been offered at a temporary location until today, and the center has treated more than 10,000 patients since the partnership began on April 15th. This total includes 998 patients who were treated for hypertenstion or high blood pressure, 945 patients who were treated for respiratory and sinus relief and 364 patients who were diagnosed with diabetes and are now getting the lifestyle changes they need. Around the clock urgent care services were not included in the mix of services offered at Earl K. Long before the partnership. The addition of these services will help reduce the number of patients who previously had no choice but to make an emergency room visit but who could have been treated at an urgent care center.
OLOL was also able to expand its emergency room as a result of the partnership with LSU. The Governor announced that the expansion helped propel OLOL's Emergency Department to Level II Trauma Center status, which was certified by the American College of Surgeons and approved by the Louisiana Department of Health late last week. A Level II Trauma Center offers top-level 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as healthcare in the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care. The certification makes OLOL's emergency room the only Level II Trauma Center in the Capital Region. OLOL's emergency department is now progressing toward Level 1 status and already has the resources in place to attain this status.
Governor Jindal said, "We are cutting the ribbon on an urgent care facility in North Baton Rouge that will provide better and more efficient care at an affordable cost. Our historic public-private partnerships are continuing to improve care and educate the doctors of tomorrow across our state, all while saving taxpayers more than $125 million dollars. Additionally, the Lake's Emergency Department is now the only Level II Trauma Center in the Capital Region, allowing it to deliver top-line, immediate trauma care around the clock. The progress made here at Our Lady of the Lake through the public-private partnership is remarkable. This partnership and the other partnerships around the state are truly transforming access to health care for Louisianians."
Located about a quarter mile from the old Earl K Long hospital, the new urgent care facility also allows citizens to get the quality health care services they need close to home. OLOL expects that the number of patients treated at the Urgent Care Center will continue to increase, allowing this partnership to deliver more quality care to citizens in the Baton Rouge area.
"We appreciate the significant contribution of everyone to the success of this transition. Clearly the focus is on patient care and physician training. There is exciting work ahead and we are ready," said Scott Wester, CEO, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
"What we've seen in the last few months is that the partnerships are working. Not only are they maintaining access to care in the communities where people need it, but they are expanding access to services that were not previously available," said LDH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "The future of health care in Louisiana is one that does away with a two-tiered system in favor of true equity of care. This clinic is a critical part of that change in Baton Rouge."
The facility features new amenities for patients and caregivers to improve efficiency and patient experience, which include digital x-ray, a large procedure room for special procedures, added space for point-of-care testing and improved layout for more coordinated care.
In addition to the new urgent care facility, more than 45,000 outpatient individuals were served at all of the LSU Health Baton Rouge clinics since the partnership began. Additionally, the Mid-City Pharmacy completely worked through its backlog of 1,200 prescriptions. As a result of the partnership, patients may now drop off their prescriptions and have them filled within 10 to 15 minutes. Before the transition to the partnership, there was a 10-day wait period for medication. More than 32,000 prescriptions have been filled since the start of the partnership. The Governor noted that better clinic and pharmacy management leads to fewer clinic visits, fewer emergency room visits and better health for people.
Medical education is also continuing to strengthen as a result of the partnership. OLOL is now the clinical site for LSU's Baton Rouge-based physician training and graduate medical education programs. Today, more than 190 medical residents are training at the OLOL campus each month. Prior to the transition, this number was around 77 residents per month. Residents are participating in rotations for pediatrics, general surgery, ENT, emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, anesthesia and psychiatry. The psychiatry residency program at OLOL is a new program that will include 18 more residents and will train more doctors to deliver mental health services in the Capital Region.
Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden said, "This LSU Urgent Care facility will go a long way in bringing better access to quality care for the people of Baton Rouge. Together, we can continue improving the lives and health of people in this community through this historic partnership."
"It is great to see a regional leader like Our Lady of the Lake, through a public-private partnership, making an impact on the availability of health care and medical training. The Baton Rouge area prides itself on the strong health care network in the region and this further strengthens that system," said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
In addition to the LSU Urgent Care Center, other key projects at OLOL are also on their way to completion:
The 120-bed Heart and Vascular Tower at OLOL's main campus on Essen Lane will be completed this fall. The building will include dedicated graduate medical education space, which will include teaching space, an auditorium and clinical areas designed with residents in mind. It will also feature an Intensive Care Unit, a new hybrid operating room and five cath labs.
The OLOL medical education building is also scheduled to open this fall. The new $19 million medical education building will house LSU faculty offices, conference rooms, and a state of the art simulation and innovation center.