St. Charles Parish Hospital must continue to evolve

Letters to the Editor

April 01, 2009 at 11:49 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Dear Editor,
As St. Charles Parish continues to grow, it is imperative that we evolve to meet the changing healthcare needs of our community.

The opening of the David J. Vial, M.D. Patient Care Centre’ resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response from our community. This award-winning facility reflects the responsible spending of bond proceeds that were issued with the approval of St. Charles Parish voters to provide our community with the highest quality healthcare. However, our work is not yet done. Our current Emergency Department is out of date. It is located in the oldest part of the hospital and was designed before computerized equipment was in widespread use.

It cannot be renovated easily or cost-effectively to modern standards. This is why, on April 4, 2009, St. Charles Parish will hold a bond election that, if passed, will support St. Charles Parish Hospital’s emergency services including a new Emergency Department, five new ambulances and the purchase of the East Bank Ambulance Station.

When a member of our community needs emergency care, a state-of-the-art Emergency Department will be only a few minutes away. The hospital proposes to build a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, utilizing new designs developed and recommended by the Health Care Advisory Board from Washington D.C. This new Emergency Department will facilitate shorter wait times, increased patient privacy, larger rooms for ease in accessing and caring for patients and technologically advanced equipment.

According to the Health Care Advisory Board, over the last decade, the demand for emergency care has surged while, during this same time frame, the number of emergency departments has declined. Over the next ten years, emergency department visits are projected to increase by 11%. This increase will be driven by population growth and aging, as well as dwindling psychiatric care options, which we have experienced locally since Hurricane Katrina. All of these factors have placed tremendous strain on the remaining emergency departments to expand and keep pace with the increasing demand.

The redesign of the ER will improve efficiency by reducing front-end bottlenecks resulting in faster care, implementing multifunctional treatment rooms to allow for more flexibility in their use, and allowing for movement of patients to appropriate care settings. The new design will relieve the strain on our Emergency Department and result in improved patient experiences.

On April 4, 2009, we are asking for authority to issue $11,500,000 in General Obligation Bonds. The bond proceeds will be used for 2 things. First, $5.2 million will be used for construction and development of a new, state-of-the-art Emergency Department. Second, $6.3 million will be used to refinance some existing debt. Also, the hospital currently holds an A-rating on its bonds, so the entire issue should sell at very low rates.

With a successful election, there will be no increase in taxes. We have recently received the endorsement of the St. Charles Parish Economic Development Council.

Sincerely,
Fred Martinez, Jr., CEO, St. Charles Parish Hospital




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