Following extensive questioning, the St. Charles Parish Council approved refunding bonds to provide $2.25 million for an outpatient diagnostic center at Plantation View Medical Office building in Destrehan.
Austin Reeder, CEO of St. Charles Parish Hospital, requested the move at Monday’s council meeting.
The council unanimously approved funding for the planned center, which would occupy 10,000 square feet of Plantation View’s remaining 16,000 square feet of vacant space, which Reeder said would expand needed services on the East Bank and strengthen the hospital for anticipated changes in insurance payments.
Reeder said this would leave 6,000 square feet in the building for future expansion.
The planned Plantation View Outpatient Diagnostic Center would provide radiology (CT, ultrasound, mammograms and X-Rays), a lab and physical therapy. Reeder said the center would build on ongoing efforts to grow services on the East Bank.
“Laboratory and imaging services are currently not provided anywhere on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish,” he said. “We are growing the physician services available in the parish and would like to provide these services close to home.”
Funding would come from refunding 2014 and 2015 limited tax bonds, which would provide tax-exempt “new money” while not extending bond terms, Reeder said.
The move would incur a $106,000 issuance fee, as well as requires approval by the Bond Commission. Reeder said they expect approval in September, funds by October and then work to begin within six months.
Growing freestanding services are necessary for the Hospital Service District to meet patient needs, he added.
The council was advised the approval includes a resolution stating the hospital district is responsible for paying the bonds. The district receives voter-approved 2.48 mills in property taxes until 2025, which it will use toward payments.
Chief Administrative Officer Billy Raymond said they met with hospital officials about the bond refunding.
“We don’t have any concerns … none at all,” Raymond said in response to the hospital’s request.
Reeder described the imaging center as a competitive move that includes capturing an estimated 30 percent of area patients going to other places for these services.
Councilwoman Mary Clulee thanked Ochsner representatives, who manage the hospital, for continuing to expand medical services.
Reeder said efforts have been ongoing to grow Plantation View. They will also continue to bring new service offerings to the hospital which includes same-day surgery and chemotherapy scheduled to begin there later this year.