News > Press Releases
Oct 15, 2013
Patients have access to new services and faster care as a result of historic public-private partnership between LSU and Lake Charles Memorial
LAKE CHARLES – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined community leaders and officials from Lake Charles Memorial and LSU to highlight a new urgent care facility and new clinical services available as a result of the state’s public-private partnership. The Governor also highlighted major improvements within the clinics such as reduced wait times, eliminated scheduling backlogs and new technology as a result of the transition. The partnership between LSU and Lake Charles Memorial 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. The partnerships are resulting in these health care improvements in Louisiana despite $1.8 billion in Medicaid cuts handed down by Congress.
Governor Jindal said, “Today, we’re here to highlight the great health care improvements happening in Lake Charles as a result of this historic partnership. A new Moss urgent care clinic is now connecting patients to primary care physicians rather than expensive, time-consuming ER visits. Additionally, more specialty services are available here in Lake Charles than ever before, including new nuclear imaging, specialized heart scans and kidney dialysis services that previously had to be scheduled out of town in other hospitals. Additionally, this partnership has reduced wait times for scheduling appointments and has cut down on appointment backlogs – meaning our people are getting the care they need to live healthier lives in a faster amount of time.
“The progress made here in Lake Charles through this public-private partnership is extraordinary. Our historic public-private partnerships are continuing to improve care and educate future doctors throughout Louisiana. Additionally, these partnerships are on target to generate more than $140 million in savings this year, and we are reinvesting $20 million of those savings in patient care at the hospitals. 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. This partnership through Lake Charles Memorial and West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital and the other partnerships around our state are truly transforming access to services and strengthening safety net care for our people.”
“The Moss - Memorial collaboration has given us the opportunity to build a care network capable of improving the health care options for the underserved in our community," says Larry Graham, President and CEO of Lake Charles Memorial Health System. “Both the hospitals and our staff embraced a new era of healthcare delivery enhancing the efficient use of local healthcare resources. As Southwest Louisiana's healthcare leader, the decision was not hard because we believed it's the right thing to do."
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital CEO Janie Fruge said, “As a community hospital, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is pleased to assist Lake Charles Memorial Health System in providing services to patients in our community. We will continue to work together to improve efficiency and access to care.”
The Governor highlighted several historic improvements as a result of the partnership in Lake Charles:
New Urgent Care Clinic and Increased ER Access
Lake Charles Memorial and LSU converted the former ER space on the Moss campus into an urgent care clinic, which is open from 7AM to 10 PM 7 days per week, and the clinic does not require appointments to see a physician. This urgent care center means that many patients treated at the clinic are now seeing physicians and building relationships rather than expensive, impersonal ER visits. Emergency services are still offered for safety net care at Lake Charles Memorial around the clock – and the emergency department has even expanded its patient numbers, seeing an average of 137 patients per day as a result of the partnership.
Prior to the partnership with Lake Charles Memorial, Moss Regional Hospital operated a traditional ER. It had no specialist physicians on staff, and any patients requiring specialty care had to be sent to the ER at Lake Charles Memorial – causing more transportation costs and less efficient care. For example, 190 patients who arrived at the Moss ER last year were transferred to Lake Charles Memorial for care; and another 35 had to be transferred to Christus St. Patrick Hospital.
New Specialty Clinic Care
In addition to the urgent care clinic, numerous other specialty care clinics have been re-established or established for the first time on the Moss campus.
These clinics expand access to care for people in the Southwest Region. Prior to the introduction of these services, patients who needed specialty care were sent to another hospital outside of the Lake Charles region. All of these clinics are staffed by Moss Memorial physicians who are employed by Moss Memorial via a physicians group called RPN. Often before the partnership, appointments with specialists were difficult to schedule and surgeries were even harder to schedule. As a result of the partnership and the addition of these new specialty clinics, patients in the Lake Charles area can now receive care from a specialist in their local community, typically within just 1-2 weeks.
Louisiana House of Representatives Speaker Chuck Kleckley said, “This partnership is giving the people of Southwest Louisiana and the surrounding areas more options for healthcare services. Today because of this partnership, there are more doctors at Moss who can see patients without appointments and wait times and backlogs have been reduced. Additionally, more people can get the care they need close to home instead of having to travel for procedures. These partnerships truly are transforming health care in our state."
The Governor said that today there are more services available for patients in Lake Charles that did not exist at the former Moss facility before the partnership. These services include:
Earlier this year, Moss physicians were treating just 5 patients per day. Today, Moss physicians seeing patients at Lake Charles Memorial are treating an average of 25 patients per day – proof that this partnership is expanding access for Louisianians.
Senator Ronnie Johns said, “The new services offered through Moss, Lake Charles Memorial and West Calcasieu Cameron will improve the quality of life and the health of our citizens. I look forward to watching how this partnership grows and continues improving care in the Southwest Region.”
Prior to the partnership, Moss physicians were limited in how many patients they could place locally in the Moss hospital to receive inpatient care. This was due to a lack of capacity at the facility, meaning yet again doctors had to send patients out of town. But today, the capacity to care for patients requiring inpatient hospital treatment has increased as a result of the expanded resources and space available to LSU through Lake Charles Memorial.
Reduced Backlogs and Wait Times
As a result of the partnership between LSU and Lake Charles Memorial, previous scheduling backlogs that existed for patients who needed critical services have been reduced. For example, the Governor said that when the partnership took effect in June, there was a backlog of 581 patients waiting to schedule MRIs. To date, all of those patients who needed MRIs either have an appointment scheduled or have completed their MRIs.
Additionally, all patients who were waiting to be seen by a specialty pulmonology physician before the partnership have been scheduled, and 847 of 1,384 GI patients waiting for gastrointestinal scopes have been scheduled or completed. Lake Charles Memorial has also been able to reduce wait times for patients through easy-access registration kiosks where patients can swipe their ID cards and register electronically rather than going through burdensome paperwork.