Press Release Sent by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH)
Coalition maps out strategies to increase urgent care and ER access as
the Baton Rouge General prepares to close its Mid City ER
Baton Rouge, La. - Today, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
(DHH) and a group of Baton Rouge-area hospitals announced changes to expand
access to urgent and emergency room (ER) care for individuals in the Baton
Rouge Community. Those changes include increasing and aligning access
hours and capacity for urgent care visits at the LSU Health Baton Rouge
urgent care clinic on North Foster Drive (effective March 23), other clinic
service expansions and efforts by Baton Rouge-area hospitals to increase
emergency department (ED) capacity.
The group, which met on Wednesday, Feb. 18, includes DHH, the Louisiana
Governor's Office, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL),
Baton Rouge General Medical Center (BRG), Lane Regional Medical Center
(LRMC), Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge, Woman's Hospital and the
Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF). Each organization discussed strategies
for increasing emergency room access in anticipation of the March 31 closure
of the Baton Rouge General Mid City ER.
The LSU Health Baton Rouge urgent care clinic located a mile and a half
from the Baton Rouge General Mid City ER will increase its hours of operation
to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week effective March 23. The new hours
of operation were based on analyzing visit volumes at the area urgent
care clinics and hospitals, including BRG Mid City ER, during the last
three months of 2014. Additional personnel have been hired for this access
expansion. Approximately 80 percent of the visits to the Baton Rouge General's
Mid City ER, according to their own data, are non-emergent visits that
could be seen at an urgent care or primary care clinic.
The LSU Health Baton Rouge North Campus Urgent Care Clinic is also expanding
hours for advanced diagnostic services including CT and MRI provided at
the 24-hour North Campus located on 5439 Airline Highway. This will help
ensure that individuals have access to the full range of diagnostic services
OLOL is also expanding other clinic access based on its analysis of ER
visit volume data from BRG. Approximately 13 percent of the visits to
the BRG Mid City ER are pediatric patients. Additional pediatric coverage
is planned for North Campus Urgent Care and additional evening hours and
same-day appointments have been added to pediatric clinic practices at
OLOL's Goodwood location near Mid City. OLOL is also examining strategies
to increase its capacity to serve area seniors who may frequently utilize
the BRG's Mid City ER. As expansion of LSU Health Baton Rouge's
neighborhood-clinic concept continues, consideration is being given to
a new clinic in the Gardere community. Both strategies are designed to
reduce area ER visit volume.
Area hospitals also outlined strategies to ensure their ER capacity continues
to meet the community need. Baton Rouge-area hospitals collectively handled
approximately 264,013 visits in 2014 120 visits per day. According to
BRG, approximately 80 percent of those visits, or 44,491 visits, could
have been more efficiently handled at less-costly urgent care or primary
care clinics. The remaining 11,123 emergency visits will be absorbed by
Baton Rouge-area hospitals with ER access. Excluding the BRG Mid City
ER, Baton Rouge-area hospitals have capacity to provide access to care
for more than 278,000 visits per year. In addition to the existing capacity,
Lane Regional Medical Center and Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge will
monitor patient utilization and consider expanding their ED capacities
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center recently completed a series
of expansions to their ER that has increased their ER bed capacity for
adults from 38 to 60, including level two trauma capacity. The Lake is
also in the process of adding an additional 12 beds dedicated to mental
health patients that is expected to open in June.
BRG is evaluating increased access with eight to 10 ER beds at its Bluebonnet
campus if necessary. Hospital leadership is also working to optimize their
flow-of-care processes, including streamlining ER patient flow, and fast
tracking admissions processes that allow for staff physicians and area
nursing homes to directly admit their patients to BRG's hospital campuses,
bypassing the emergency room when appropriate.
"I am incredibly pleased that we have been able to identify capacity
at our existing hospitals and that the LSU Health urgent care clinic less
than two miles away from Baton Rouge General Mid City will have expanded
hours to care for more city residents without insurance," said DHH
Secretary Kathy Kliebert. We will continue to meet with community leaders
and stakeholders, and will aggressively begin work with the coalition
to help inform the public on when, where and how to utilize health care
access points in our community."
"Elimination of healthcare services anywhere in our community impacts
everyone. Local hospitals are committed and working together to see that
neighborhood families have access to the best care. Extraordinary community
leadership is what Baton Rouge is known for across our state," said
Our Lady of the Lake CEO Scott Wester.
"Baton Rouge General remains a committed and active participant in
the collaborative dialogue in search of community-wide solutions,"
said BRG President and CEO Mark Slyter. "Sadly, we must close our
door for ER services at Mid City in order to preserve the highest quality
of patient care and to ensure the continued viability of our health system.
Other opportunities remain open and we will be exploring those with our
community partners in the months ahead."
"Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge and Ochsner Medical Complex-Iberville
emergency departments (ED) provide high quality care to our patients.
Our goal has always been to effectively manage our own ED volume in the
communities we have committed to serve," said Eric McMillen, CEO
of Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge.
ED Capacity in Baton Rouge Excluding BRG Mid City
Stakeholder and Community Meetings
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
- At the Main Campus on Essen Lane, there are 86 total beds, including 60
adult beds, 20 pediatric beds, two critical care and four trauma rooms.
This campus sees an average of 258 visits per day, for an average of 94,170
visits per year.
- At the Livingston campus, there are 24 beds that see approximately 85 visits
per day for an average of 31,025 visits per year.
- Baton Rouge General's Bluebonnet campus has 28 beds in its ED, which
see approximately 120 visits per day for an average of 43,800 per year.
- Lane Regional medical Center currently has 21 beds in its ED that see on
average 96 visits per day or approximately 35,000 visits annually. Currently,
the ED could handle an additional 5 to 10 percent of visits, which could
accommodate up to another 3,500 visits annually.
Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge
- At its Baton Rouge campus, OMC has 24 beds that serve approximately 150
visits per day or approximately 54,750 annually.
- At its Iberville location, it has 21 beds currently serves approximately
36 visits per day or 13,140 annually.
The Department has scheduled meetings with critical stakeholders that
will take place over the next several days and weeks, including meetings
with physician leaders, transportation officials, and community and faith
leaders. DHH met yesterday with emergency medical technicians on upcoming
changes. BRG leaders have committed to public meetings to discuss the
closure of the ER, the coalition will participate in these meetings.
Community Education and Outreach
Proper use of emergency rooms is a national issue that most states are
working to address. DHH will spearhead a collaborative communications
and outreach plan to address ER use, as well as provide information to
the public about where, how and when care is available for individuals
with or without insurance.
Existing Services in Mid City Baton Rouge
A full list of urgent care, primary care, pediatric and specialty clinics
available for individuals in the Baton Rouge area without insurance is
available on the DHH website here: