Ochsner Baptist Announces Plans to Open Emergency Room

Added on Aug 19, 2008 | Filed Under: General News

Uptown Campus Begins Construction on ER to Open in November, Adds More Medical Services

NEW ORLEANS - Ochsner Baptist Medical Center announced today its plans to open a full-service Emergency Room on its Campus at 2700 Napoleon Avenue in Uptown New Orleans. Emergency services have not been available on the Baptist campus since Katrina. The ER is slated to open in the Winter 2008 in keeping with Ochsner's two-year, phased plan to revitalize the campus. (Artist renderings and tours are available for media by appointment.)

"We're about half way through construction, and upon completion, the ER will have 12 beds within approximately 6,000 square feet, and will include state-of-the-art electronic computerized patient tracking to ensure that staff are always aware of patient waiting times, service delays, test results and all patient care activities," says Robert Wolterman, Chief Executive Officer at Baptist. "Cat Scan and all other radiologic imaging will also be available."

"The ER renovation will cost an estimated $ 4 million and we expect to see about 15,000 - 20,000 patient visits in the first year, which translates to about 40-50 visits per day," says Dr. Joe Guarisco, Ochsner Systems Chief of Emergency Services. "We believe these services will help fill a significant need for emergency care in New Orleans. Since Katrina, local emergency rooms have been plagued with frequent overcrowding." 

Bringing emergency care back to Baptist will have several benefits for local residents.  Guarisco explains, "By adding another full-service ER to the area, patients and ambulances won't have to travel as far for emergency care.  The Baptist ER will ease wait times and enable patients to get immediate attention."

"We're proud that in such a short time we've gone from a small surgical institution to a full-service facility with state-of-the-art equipment and the ability to handle almost any critical case," says Wolterman.  The campus currently has 25 medical/surgical beds and an Intensive Care Unit.  By the end of this year, Baptist also plans to add 30 more in-patient beds to its Clara Wing bringing the total to 55 beds, all of which will be private rooms.

Additional services at Baptist include an Urgent Care Clinic, an Outpatient Imaging Center, a Laser Vision Center, six operating rooms, two cardiac catheterization suites and endoscopy suites, and over 300 community physicians on staff. "OBMC is capable of handling virtually all medical and surgical cases with the exception of trauma, open-heart surgery and neurological cases," explains Wolterman. 

In November 2007, Baptist opened an on-campus, state-of-the art Imaging Center offering the latest in imaging technologies, including a 64-slice CT machine, MRI, Ultrasound, Radiography, Fluoroscopy, Nuclear Medicine and Echo Cardiology testing. The Imaging Center also features a Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) which enables physicians to view patient images in their offices and throughout the hospital, including inside operating rooms. "Having an imaging center on-site is a great advantage to patients and physicians, particularly in an emergency situation when an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI could be crucial to providing proper care and diagnoses," explains Dr. Guarisco.

The Uptown, Downtown, New Orleans East, Gentilly, Chalmette, Mid City and Lakeview/Lakefront neighborhoods are expected to utilize the Baptist ER as these areas continue to rebuild. Wolterman promises, "As volumes increase and the demand for care grows, we'll continue to add in-patient beds and additional services."  The facility is currently in negotiations to develop a Senior Living Center on its Main Campus.

In October 2006, Ochsner promised the region that "Baptist was back!" and we're making good on that promise and our plan, says Dr. Patrick Quinlan, M.D. Chief Executive Officer of Ochsner Health System. "The Baptist facility holds over 70 years of outstanding care for thousands of New Orleanians, and we want our community to know we're here to stay and committed to rebuilding our healthcare system," says Quinlan. 

Since its purchase in October 2006, Ochsner has invested a total of over $30 million in revitalizing the Baptist campus. "This facility has deep roots in the New Orleans community and we're committed to making this facility a thriving resource for the city's future," says Wolterman.

Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education.  The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana.  Ochsner employs over 600 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties and over 300 clinical research trials annually.  Ochsner was ranked one of the "Best Places to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 12 consecutive years.  Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in July 2007.  Ochsner has over 10,000 employees system-wide.

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