Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ochsner LSU Health celebrates 5 years of partnership, commitment to north Louisiana

by BIZ Magazine

SHREVEPORT – October marks five years since Ochsner Health and LSU Health Shreveport partnered with a vision to improve the health and well-being of their communities. The newly formed Ochsner LSU Health System of North Louisiana (Ochsner LSU Health) and its partners committed to make healthcare more accessible to all, improve quality, expand patient-centered technology, support the growth of the medical school and enhance research in the region. Building on the strengths of Ochsner Health and LSU Health Shreveport, the healthcare system has exceeded expectations for progress in these areas and continues to focus on its commitments to North Louisiana.

Among the successes of the past five years, Ochsner LSU Health has greatly increased access to care. From the common cold to the most complex medical needs, the health system cares for more than 165,000 patients with over 600,000 clinic visits annually, representing a more than 75% increase in clinic visits over five years. From two hospitals and seven outpatient locations, there are now three hospitals and more than 20 outpatient locations across North Louisiana, providing more care options close to home.  Since inception, Ochsner LSU Health has opened St. Mary Medical Center, a newly renovated hospital featuring a wide range of services, including women’s and children’s services, an overnight surgery center, a neurosciences pavilion and a comprehensive diagnostic and imaging center. The health system also partnered with Oceans Healthcare to create a new behavioral health facility, Louisiana Behavioral Health; opened community health centers on St. Vincent Avenue in Shreveport and on Louisville Avenue in Monroe; opened urgent care locations in Shreveport, Bossier City and West Monroe; and added multiple primary care and specialty care clinics throughout the region.

“In five years of partnership, we’ve achieved results beyond our expectations – changing countless lives, creating economic and academic opportunity and transforming the communities we serve throughout North Louisiana,” said Ochsner Health CEO Pete November. “The partnership was designed to expand access to high-quality care, and together we have brought expedited and high-quality primary and subspecialty care to communities across the region. We have supported the medical school both financially and by working with LSU to enhance the clinical training environment for medical students and residents. Since the partnership began, we have seen incredible innovative technological advances, not only in medical treatments, but also in the way our patients interact with their care teams, which allows them to get test results and make appointments quickly and effortlessly. Through all our initiatives we’ve accomplished amazing things together – and we know this is just the beginning.”

“The five-year anniversary of the 50-50 partnership between LSU Health Shreveport and Ochsner Health provides a time to celebrate and reflect on all that has been accomplished by bringing two strong organizations together to create the only academic health center in a 150-mile radius in North Louisiana and adjoining states,” said David Guzick, MD, PhD, Chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport. “As the virtuous circle of patient care, research and education in our academic health center has grown in size, scope and stature, we have created an economic multiplier in the region. But we’re just getting started. We are motivated by our past success to aim even higher in achieving our vision of becoming a top-tier academic health center nationally.”

Ochsner LSU Health is a leader in cutting-edge and high-quality healthcare across multiple specialties. The Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – Academic Medical Center is the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center and Comprehensive Stroke Center — the only hospital in the state with all three designations. Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – St. Mary Medical Center has been named as a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group and one of America’s Best Hospitals by Money Magazine. St. Mary Medical Center also received Press Ganey’s Human Experience Guardian of Excellence Award for outstanding patient experience. Ochsner LSU Health – Monroe Medical Center has earned Primary Stroke Center Certification, received Birth Ready designation for perinatal outcomes and is Northeast Louisiana’s only Level 3 Trauma Center.

Patients also have access to innovative technologies that give them the power to monitor and manage their health virtually with the assistance of their care team. Offerings include secure and convenient virtual visits and Digital Medicine programs for chronic disease management, notably in diabetes and hypertension. The MyOchsner app, available to all patients, puts scheduling appointments, medical records, test results and direct communication with their care teams right at their fingertips.

“This partnership has transformed healthcare across North Louisiana,” said Chuck Daigle, CEO of Ochsner Health Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and North Louisiana. “I am extremely proud of our team’s dedication to improving the access patients have to quality healthcare, the innovation, technology and new processes they have brought to this community and the impact this partnership has had on the economic landscape. It is life changing for the people of North Louisiana.”

With more than 4,200 employees, making it one of the largest employers in the region, Ochsner LSU Health is a powerhouse in the local economy. An additional 350 contracted positions, 950 physicians – including LSU Health Shreveport faculty and residents – and 150 advanced practice providers in more than 65 specialties and subspecialties also work throughout Ochsner LSU Health’s multiple locations. Since 2018, the partnership has increased the number of practicing physicians by 70% and grown its workforce by more than 700 employees.

Additionally, Ochsner LSU Health has invested over $245 million in improved facilities and infrastructure over the last five years. A multimillion-dollar upgrade in 2019 launched the area’s most advanced electronic medical records system, enhancing the continuity of care and creating a foundation for innovative digital health solutions. At the Academic Medical Center in Shreveport, significant investments have been made in patient rooms, advanced imaging and infrastructure and equipment, leading to an increase in private rooms from 35% to 100%. St. Mary Medical Center, a property that had been shuttered by previous owners in 2013, now boasts several fully renovated clinics and a state-of-the-art surgery center with eight total operating rooms. Monroe Medical Center received an upgrade with Northeast Louisiana’s first $3 million hybrid operating room to treat patients needing multiple surgical specialties and diverse imaging in one space.

“I have worked in academic medicine for 25 years, and I have never seen expansion, growth, quality improvement and access improvement at this scale in this amount of time,” said Chuck Fox, MD, Ochsner LSU Health Chief Medical Officer. “When we began this partnership, we could not have predicted where we would be today. With the number of new access points, doubled clinic volume, more physicians and increased residency and fellowship spaces in just five years, it is exciting to think about how much we’ll accomplish in the many years ahead.”

“The progress we have made together is phenomenal,” said David Lewis, MD, Dean of LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine “Seventy-five percent of physicians practicing in North Louisiana either completed residency or attended medical school here. Our partnership has helped us increase the number of medical students in each class, putting more highly skilled physicians in the state of Louisiana to care for people in our communities.”

Ochsner LSU Health is the clinical enterprise that is functionally integrated with LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS), in creating an exemplary circle of patient care, research and education. As a result of the success of the Ochsner LSU Health partnership, financial support to LSUHS has significantly increased. The increased financial transfers to LSUHS are currently focused on supporting the recruitment of new faculty investigators who will expand the size, scope and stature of the LSUHS research enterprise. Ochsner Health and Ochsner LSU Health have also contributed $15 million in funding for LSUHS’s new Center for Medical Education, which will provide space to increase the medical school class size by 33% and house the Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats, whose research addresses future viral outbreaks and treatments. The new building will open in the fall of 2023.

More than 1,000 nursing and allied health students participate in rotations annually at Ochsner LSU Health’s three hospitals and numerous clinics. In addition to several workforce development programs available to employees, Ochsner LSU Health also offers its Nurse Residency Program, which empowers newly licensed nurses as they successfully transition into clinical practice by bridging the gap between the classroom and real-life nursing. The first cohort of the Nurse Residency Shreveport and Monroe programs graduated in June 2023.

Ochsner LSU Health is committed to strengthening the North Louisiana region through improved health outcomes, access to quality care and enhanced research and education opportunities. To learn more about Ochsner LSU Health’s progress, visit ochsnerlsuhs.org/progress.

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