Ochsner, St. Charles hospital estimates $11.6M in upgrades

Investing in its “every patient every time” strategy, St. Charles Hospital CEO Austin Reeder estimated more than $11.5 million for a five-year capital plan to grow services at the hospital.

Investing in its “every patient every time” strategy, St. Charles Hospital CEO Austin Reeder estimated more than $11.5 million for a five-year capital plan to grow services at the hospital.

Reeder said the Ochsner-managed partnership has aligned the hospital for sustainable growth, particularly through its focus on patient experience and growing access to local care.

Additions include the opening of an orthopedics clinic in December, implementing tele-general neurology next year, continued growth in OB/GYN in January, as well as  expanding cardiology services in March.

“Our patients expect high quality care,” Reeder said. “It’s the experience that keeps them coming back.”

The hospital has earned high rankings nationally in inpatient care, emergency care and clinic care.

In specialty patients, Reeder said they’ve seen a 14 percent increase over last year. He also pointed to a 15 percent rise in primary care patients, as well as overall patient numbers being up 13 percent.

The hospital’s growth strategy is timely considering changes in the medical industry, he said. Medicare is expanding with more people entering retirement while payments are being reduced.

“We’re seeing a decline in utilization overall in health care,” Reeder said.

More procedures are going to outpatient care, as well as efforts being directed to a healthier population that keeps more people out of the hospital, he added. There are also cost challenges with rising drugs cost, and more competition from freestanding facilities such as those in emergency and ambulatory care.

But, overall, Reeder said they are confident their focus on growing local care will keep the hospital sustainable and growing.

“Our strategic initiative for the year is local care,” he said. “We think local care is the best care.”Hospital services have already expanded with the addition of a CT scanner, replacement of two ambulances and the addition of two endoscopy suites.

Reeder said Plantation View Medical Offices (PVMO) “is filling up.”

He estimated 52 percent of the 50,000 square-foot building is leased, leaving about 9,000 square feet available. An outpatient center is in the works in the facility, as well as the addition of an addiction recovery facility that has partnered with the parish’s drug court. Ochsner Primary Care is under construction now, which will take up 10,000 square feet, Reeder said.

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