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Oct 14, 2013
Governor Jindal Highlights New Mammography Technology and Expanded Services at Chabert Medical Center in Houma

HOUMA – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined community leaders and officials from Chabert Medical Center, Ochsner Health System and Terrebonne General Medical Center to announce the introduction of two new mammogram machines at Chabert Medical Center. The Governor also highlighted major improvements and expanded clinical services at Chabert since the partnership between LSU, Ochsner and Terrebonne General was completed. Chabert Medical Center is one 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. 

Governor Jindal said, “Today, we’re introducing two new mammography machines that will provide more accurate and faster screenings for preventative care, and early breast cancer detection for our people through some of the newest technology available. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and these machines couldn’t have come at a better time to help patients get faster and more efficient screenings. With the addition of these two new units, Chabert Medical Center will now be able to offer same-day imaging for those who come in for regular physician visits – all without having to schedule separate appointments or making additional trips to the hospital. This new technology with same-day imaging will help patients detect breast cancer earlier and faster, and will deliver preventative care that keep our people healthier and could save many lives.

“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 $120 million dollars. In fact, some state officials estimate that these partnerships could create a $6 million dollar surplus for taxpayers once all the hospital transitions are completed. The progress made here at Chabert through the public-private partnership is extraordinary. Chabert and the other partnerships throughout our state are truly transforming access to services and strengthening safety net care for our people.”

Previously, Chabert had two mammography units that were outdated and less efficient. A patient typically had to wait up to two weeks to schedule a mammogram.  However, the Governor said as a result of the new technology, Chabert’s medical team predicts that these units, along with the availability of same-day screenings, will increase the number of mammograms by more than 100 patients this year and by an additional 100 patients the following year.

The Governor also highlighted increased patient visits and physician staff at Chabert since the partnership transition. Just in the first month of the partnership from June to July, the number of patient visits at Chabert increased by nearly 20 percent. Additionally, Chabert has been able to hire new physicians to serve more patients in the Bayou Region, including a new cardiologist, urologist and family health physician.

“Our goal as a health system is to not only care for the people who count on us, but also to detect illness before it becomes a problem,” said Warner L. Thomas, CEO, Ochsner Health System. “Expanding patient access to physicians and preventive screenings and investing in the highest-technology equipment are just two of the ways we are working to change and save lives.”

“Since the transition, we have made much progress in improving patient access to care, increasing preventive health screenings and driving high quality services to the communities in which we serve,” said Ritchie Dupre, CEO, Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center. “We have a great team of physicians, leaders and employees, and I am proud and excited to be leading this wonderful organization.  We are making a difference, and it shows!”

“We are excited to be part of the transformation of healthcare delivery for the people we serve, not only has healthcare continued at Chabert, but we are extremely proud of the preservation of jobs and expanded care now available to our community through the center,” said Phyllis Peoples, President and CEO of Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC).  “Updated technologies and the growth of physician services as well as graduate medical education being strengthened makes exceptional healthcare attainable for all members of our community,” Mrs. Peoples added.  “Chabert will continue to grow and develop under its new management, but quality patient care for all Terrebonne Parish residents will always be the primary focus,” said Mrs. Peoples. 

Senator Norby Chabert said, "This partnership strengthens the great work we already have here at Chabert, such as our graduate medical education, while also expanding access to services. I thank the Governor, Ochsner, and Terrebonne General for their continued leadership to make this hospital all that it can be to serve the people of the Bayou region."

The Governor highlighted several additional improvements as a result of the partnership:

Additional Clinical Services and Specialty Care
Chabert’s new cardiologist has been able to treat 60 additional patients per month since joining the staff.  Prior to the partnership, patients who needed care from a cardiac arrhythmia specialist or pace maker services were sent over an hour away to ILH in New Orleans.  Now, these patients can receive this specialty care in their local community close to home.

As a result of Chabert’s new urologist and increased appointment availability, the partnership has also been able to deliver increased urology care to about 200 additional patients per month.  The hospital also invested $350,000 in new urology equipment to serve patients in the Bayou Region. These additions will provide patients with enhanced access to urology-related services that were previously only offered on a limited basis when a urologist visited Chabert once per week. Additionally, the recruitment of the additional family practice physician is increasing the availability of primary care services for families in the Houma area.  

Increased Preventative Care
In addition to the predicted increase in mammograms through the partnership and the new screening technology, the annual number of colonoscopy procedures provided for patients to screen for colon cancer has grown, increasing by nearly 24 percent. This increase is due to improved workflow techniques and scheduling procedures as a result of the partnership. This is an increase from 2,019 colonoscopies in 2012 to 2,500 in 2013, and more proof that people are getting better access to preventative care and specialty physicians. Now, Ochsner physicians and residents who previously did not do rotations at Chabert are seeing more patients.

Improved Graduate Medical Education 
The Governor also said medical education is also continuing to strengthen as a result of the partnership. Partnering with Ochsner and LSU, Chabert will continue to serve as a training site for 160 residents in programs like orthopedics, internal medicine, cardiology, emergency medicine, general surgery and dentistry.  Chabert is now able to offer residents more clinical opportunities as specialty services expand and patient numbers increase, enriching the GME experience and helping resident physicians provide better care for patients. 

Additionally, Chabert estimates that medical student applications for Chabert’s internal medicine residency program will rise from 2,000 in 2013 to 2,500 for 8 positions available in the 2014 academic year. The Governor said these numbers show that more and more future doctors want to train in Houma because of the vast opportunities and technology available through the partnership between LSU, Ochsner and Terrebonne General.

More Efficient Electronic Health Records
In addition to these improvements, future technology developments at Chabert are on their way to completion. The Chabert team is working closely with Ochsner to make electronic health records available for all patients for the first time in Chabert’s history as a result of the partnership, streamlining medical records so that doctors and patients have better access to health histories and records. The project will also upgrade Chabert’s entire IT system with better technology to deliver services for patients. Ochsner officials estimate the project will be completed by May 2014.

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