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Ochsner Baptist Opens ER and Clara Wing

Uptown New Orleans Campus Opens Community ER, Expanded ICU, and All-Private Hospital Wing

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- At a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:00am on Monday, January 12, 2009, DHH Secretary Alan Levine and New Orleans City Councilwoman Stacy Head will join Ochsner Baptist Medical Center and the community to celebrate the opening of its full-service Emergency Room and a 43 all-private room hospital wing at 2700 Napoleon Avenue in Uptown New Orleans. This additional $12 million investment includes expanding the Ochsner Baptist ICU from three to 12 beds and is in addition to the more than $20 million to re-open 22 medical/surgical beds, two endoscopy suites and the Imaging Center in 2006 and 2007. Following guided tours, the ER will officially open for patient care at 11:00am. Emergency services have not been available at the Ochsner Baptist campus since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"With local ERs still plagued with frequent overcrowding and diversion problems, Ochsner Baptist's services will fill a significant need and provide residents with a new, full-service ER closer to home," explains Robert Wolterman, Chief Executive Officer at Baptist. The 6,000-square-foot ER includes two trauma rooms, nine exam rooms, one triage room, an electronic medical records system, and computerized patient tracking for fast door-to-doctor care and quicker treatment.

"Another advantage to the Ochsner Baptist ER is our on-campus, comprehensive Imaging Center. In an emergency situation, an X-ray, ultrasound, CT or MRI are crucial to proper care and diagnoses," explains Dr. Joe Guarisco, Ochsner Systems Chief of Emergency Services. Opened in November 2007, Ochsner Imaging includes a 64-slice CT machine, MRI, Ultrasound, Radiography, Fluoroscopy, Digital Mammography, Nuclear Medicine and Echo Cardiology testing.

"We expect to average approximately 40 to 45 visits per day in the first few months of operation," says Dr. Guarisco. Labor and delivery and complex neurological emergencies will be stabilized, and then transferred to Ochsner's main campus just four miles away.

Residents of Uptown, Downtown, New Orleans East, Gentilly, Chalmette, Mid City and Lakeview/Lakefront neighborhoods are expected to utilize the Ochsner Baptist ER. "The return of emergency services to the Broadmoor community is a huge step in our recovery process and will provide quality emergency care that's easily accessible to our families," says LaToya Cantrell, President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association.

Wolterman goes on to add, "The support of the medical staff and the community has been tremendous. And, patients will feel right at home with the ER in the same location as before and will see many of the same physicians at Baptist as they did pre-Katrina." Ochsner Baptist has consistently ranked in the top 95th percentile in patient satisfaction in Press Ganey scores.

Ochsner purchased the Baptist campus in October 2006 from Tenet Healthcare. "In such a short time, we've gone from a small surgical institution to a full-service facility capable of handling critical cases," says Wolterman. The Clara Wing's $8 million expansion brings the campus to 43 medical/surgical beds.

Wolterman promises, "As patient needs continue to increase and patient demand grows, we'll continue to grow." Current campus services now include an expanded 12-bed ICU, six operating rooms, two cardiac catheterization suites and endoscopy suites, an Outpatient Imaging Center, a Laser Vision Center, and over 300 community physicians.

"A massive undertaking, the $12 million renovation of the Ochsner Baptist Clara Building is an investment in our city's healthcare and its economy, as all construction was through local contractors," explains Warner Thomas, Ochsner Health System President and Chief Operating Officer. The architectural firm Rozas/Ward Architects handled architectural design and remodeling and Construction South was the general contractor. "It was important to us that we used a local firm to manage this project and provide work to over 250 local workers," says Thomas. Additional improvements to the Ochsner Baptist campus include a family chapel, physician's dining area, new cafeteria, and improved boiler and chiller infrastructures.

As the campus grows, so will its staffing. "We anticipate hiring over 100 new employees to staff the additional beds and the ER," says Thomas. "This will funnel an additional $5M into the local economy through employee salaries; support that's much needed during our nation's financial crisis."

To date, Ochsner has invested over $30 million to revitalize the Baptist campus. "This facility has deep roots in the New Orleans community and we're committed to making it a thriving resource for the city's future," says Wolterman. The facility is still in negotiations to develop a Senior Living Center anticipated for opening in 2013.

"In 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 region's healthcare system."

As a community partner, Ochsner has "adopted" Samuel J. Green Charter Elementary investing staff time at the school to educate students on healthy living and has reached out to local neighborhood associations to hold monthly meetings at the Baptist Campus.

Ochsner Baptist Healing Arts

An innovative campus, Ochsner Baptist has also embraced the Healing Arts philosophy which seeks to improve patients' lives through visual arts. The Ochsner Baptist ER, Clara Wing and ICU feature artwork by renowned Covington, LA, artist, Emery Clark. Clark explains, "We sought to transform the experience of healthcare; to facilitate healing by alleviating stress and creating a peaceful and nurturing environment for both patients and staff." Studies have shown that exposure to themes in art, such as nature, landscapes and calm waters are proven to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and diminish the need for pain medication; JAMA, "The Art of Healing," M.J. Freidrich, May 19, 1999.

"Ochsner Medical Center and Ochsner Medical Center for Children began incorporating Healing Arts in 2004 and have since gained tremendous support from patients and staff," says Dr. Quinlan.

Ochsner Health System ( 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 more than 750 physicians in 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner has been listed as one of the "Best Places to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness since 2005 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 13 consecutive years. Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in 2007. Ochsner has 11,000 employees system-wide.

SOURCE Ochsner Medical Center
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