Parish voters overwhelmingly support $2.6 million tax

May 09, 2014 at 10:21 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Using funds from a recent tax renewal, St. Charles Parish Hospital will add a third ambulance shift during peak service times.
Using funds from a recent tax renewal, St. Charles Parish Hospital will add a third ambulance shift during peak service times.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a St. Charles Parish Hospital tax that will generate $2.6 million per year and allow the addition of a third ambulance shift during peak service hours.

Officials say funds from the renewal, which passed with nearly 70 percent of the vote, will also support an expanded emergency room, operations of a recently unveiled cardiac catheterization lab and operating expenses of an urgent care center in Destrehan now under construction.

Hospital CEO Federico Martinez Jr. called renewal of the tax critical for both the hospital and the community because it will support emergency services. While there are always two ambulances on call on each side of the river 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the hospital will add a third ambulance shift during peak service hours. That will help cut down response time, Martinez said.

“We have one of the two nuclear plants in the state in this parish, major highways and all this industry, so people want to see good emergency medicine,” Martinez said. “The services that we are beginning to provide are really what is needed in the community and the election showed us that the community thinks we are doing the right thing by having these services.”

One of the hospital’s recent additions is a new cardiac catheterization lab and a heart clinic that is scheduled to open next month. Funds from the renewal will support both departments.

The $2.4 million cath lab allows the hospital to treat several heart conditions for the first time, including heart attacks. The $2.3 million clinic consists of 16 exam rooms, a nuclear medicine room, a stress treadmill room with two treadmills, two echocardiology rooms, a pacemaker room and a laboratory for blood work.

“Heart disease is a big issue around the country and in Louisiana,” Martinez said.

Hospital officials also say that money from the renewal would help fund operations of a 72,000-square-foot medical center now under construction.

The complex will offer services including primary care, urology, gastroenterology, neurology, ophthalmology and internal medicine. Called Plantation View due to its location near Destrehan Plantation, the medical complex will also offer treatment for infectious diseases and orthopedic care.

In addition to the specialty treatments offered at the site, the building will house the first urgent care center on the parish’s East Bank.

Other funds from the renewal will be used for staff training.

“The community support means a lot to us because it makes it a lot easier to provide the services that the community wants,” Martinez said. “We will try our best to have first-rate health care services for the people of St. Charles Parish.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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