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Aug 15, 2013
Governor Jindal Highlights Partnership Progress at University Hospital & Clinics in Lafayette

Partnership increases graduate medical education residency slots, access to services
LAFAYETTE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal visited University Hospital & Clinics (UHC) in Lafayette to highlight the progress made through the public-private partnership between LSU and Lafayette General Health. The Governor announced the opening of eight additional inpatient beds and one operating room, as well as notable improvements in health care access as a result of the partnership. Notable progress highlighted by the Governor includes an increase of 18 graduate medical education residents in the Lafayette region, better access to orthopedic and oncology services, as well as an expanded emergency room.
 
The new hospital has been open for nearly two months. From June 24 to July 31, UHC had over 4,000 emergency visits, more than 800 inpatient days and saw more than 9,500 clinic patients in treatment areas such as internal medicine, family practice, cardiology, orthopedics, general surgery and oncology. The number of surgeries has also risen steadily since the partnership opened.  In mid-July, UHC added six more hours of Operating Room time per week.  Through July 31, UHC completed over 200 surgeries – 59 inpatient and 145 outpatient. 
 
Governor Jindal said, “Today is a tremendous day in Louisiana healthcare history. The additional services and better access to care offered at UHC as a result of this partnership are remarkable. We embarked on this new era because we were faced with the unique challenge of adapting a publicly-run, statewide charity hospital system to the evolving health care needs of our people. In order to continue meeting the needs of our people at a cost that was sustainable for taxpayers, we sought to convert our charity hospitals to public-private partnerships that will care for our most vulnerable, improve the level of care that’s offered and implement expanded services, all at an affordable cost.”
 
“To date, there are five charity hospitals – including UHC here in Lafayette – that have been transformed into public-private partnerships that strengthen safety net care for the people of Louisiana, lower costs and improve graduate medical education for future doctors.  Here at UHC, the partnership has resulted in many improvements, including an increase of 18 graduate medical education residents in the Lafayette region, better access to orthopedic and oncology services, an expanded emergency room and additional inpatient beds. UHC and the rest of the partnerships will continue to make our hospitals and the services they offer better than they have ever been in the history of our state.”

Additionally, the partnership has aided Lafayette General’s emergency department in their pursuit of Level II Trauma status. Once attained, the Lafayette General Emergency Room will be the first-ever Level II Trauma Center in the Lafayette area. A Trauma II center offers 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.  It will also offer clinical trauma experience for LSU graduate medical education residents.
 
Governor Jindal said that the public-private partnerships are on target to generate more than $125 million in savings for taxpayers this year, and savings will only increase as the partnerships continue. Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has invested more than $12 million in upgrades and improvements at Lafayette's University Medical Center.
  
University Hospital & Clinics CEO Jared Stark said, “We've retained staff, improved efficiencies and identified opportunities to enhance care and expanded services.  Our staff has a renewed sense of pride and commitment to serve the community and to build upon the foundation of quality health care that has always been the cornerstone of University Hospital & Clinics. Improvements like the reopening of the orthopedic clinic and opening additional operating rooms and inpatient beds has meant so much to this community.  Patients are relieved they can receive services previously unavailable - and get those services close to home. We look forward to continuing to identify and make improvements throughout the entire organization in better service to our patients. “

Lafayette General Health President and CEO David Callecod said, “We appreciate the opportunity to lead the transformation of health care in Acadiana.  Through this partnership, we will be able to make drastic improvements to health outcomes for the entire community. Through our work with LSU and the state, Lafayette General has moved to the next phase of our evolution, having two major teaching hospitals in our health system.”

To become a teaching hospital, Lafayette General expanded services and spent nearly $3 million on contracts, including contracts with 65 private physicians.  For example, Lafayette General started a new surgical hospitalist program, which is the first 24-hour, 365-days-a-year hospital-based surgery program in the area.

LSU Health’s Dr. Frank Opelka said, “Today is another example of how these partnerships improve access to care by restoring clinical capacity with more beds, more emergency department services and more operating rooms. Instead of years of reductions and stale budgets, LSU is finding that the hard working, excellent medical faculty and residents, as well as our retained dedicated and exceptional medical staff, are complimenting the tremendous skills in our partners to form a new, efficient high quality team for patients in the region.”

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said, “Our goal has always been to attract and keep the best and the brightest in Louisiana.  This partnership brings those very people to Lafayette, and knowing that medical residents typically stay within a very small radius of where they complete their residency, this is a perfect fit for everything we are trying to accomplish here.  Thank you Governor Jindal, and thank you Lafayette General for your efforts. In addition to improving medical care for this whole region, you are contributing to making Lafayette a great place to live and raise a family.”

Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of Lafayette Economic Development Authority said, “As a result of federal reductions, we were headed in a direction where we didn't know what would happen to UMC here in Lafayette. But because of the team work between Lafayette General, LSU, the Governor and our local officials, we're now able to have a facility in our area that will employ over 600 people and pump $172 million into this economy.”

Rob Eddy, Chair of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce said, “The partnership between LSU Medical Center and Lafayette General will go a long way to improve access to quality health care for our citizens. The expansion of the residency program and the continued and future employment of hundreds of employees will be significant to Acadiana's economic growth and quality of life.”

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kleibert said, “By strengthening the graduate medical education at the hospital and offering a wider array of training specialties, the partnership is improving the level of care we are offering to Acadiana residents. It is an exciting time for health care in this region and across the state.”
 
Governor Jindal noted several improvements to health care services at UHC as a result of the partnership:
  • 8 additional inpatient beds and an additional operating room that were previously taken out of operation due in part to the $1.8 billion reduction handed down by Congress.
  • 18 additional graduate medical education residency slots, pushing the total number of doctors training at UHC from 64 to 82.
  • The partnership enables UHC and Lafayette General Medical Center to provide a more robust medical training experience for residents in areas like anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, surgery and otorhinolaryngology (ENT).
  • Expansion of the UHC Emergency Room facility, which is the 5th busiest ER in the state of Louisiana. The Governor announced that the state supported $4.5 million in capital outlay for the expansion to ensure UHC had the space and resources it needs to provide quality emergency care for the community.
  • Reintroduction of a nuclear imaging device and ultrasound equipment replacements with better tools and technology.
  • Restoration of clinical services that were reduced in 2012 after the federal reductions, including restoration of orthopedic specialty services.
  • A new orthopedic surgeon was hired at UHC to see patients more efficiently. Patients who were previously referred to other hospitals outside the Lafayette area are now able to receive orthopedic services in their local community.
  • Similarly, the Medical Detox Unit at UMC will be reintroduced, which was discontinued after the federal cuts.
  • Reintroduction of the Outpatient Dietician Program, which will work to ensure citizens in the local area have the knowledge and services they need to make healthy, nutritional choices.
  • Investments toward a new electronic medical records system, which will help doctors and residents coordinate lab results and radiology scans more efficiently, improve the continuity of care for patients and allow the hospital to deliver better care at a lower cost.
  • UHC now has access to Cancer Center of Acadiana through a previously existing partnership between the cancer center and Lafayette General. Cancer Center of Acadiana at Lafayette General Medical Center is an 18,000 square foot center dedicated to those undergoing cancer and hematologic treatment.  Previously, new cancer patients at UHC had to wait as long as 6 months for an initial appointment with an oncologist.  As a result of the partnership, UHC was able to add a new oncologist, and the management team is confident that the wait time and backlog in appointments will decrease significantly. 

 
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