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Baton Rouge General Mid City Engages Employees, Community in Transition Planning

Baton Rouge, La. – Baton Rouge General (BRG) is undertaking extensive community education and staff engagement efforts to help ensure an effective transition as the hospital moves forward with plans to close Emergency Room services at its Mid City campus this spring, remaining steadfastly focused on patients and staff. The hospital is supportive of collaborative plans to identify expanded urgent and primary care services near the Mid City campus, in an effort to maintain access while promoting utilization of the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.

The BRG website will continue to serve as an update center for information, frequently asked questions and calendar activities regarding changes to the Mid City ER. In addition, www.mycarebr.com, the website of the Better Access to Care Coalition (BACC), remains an important source of information for understanding how and when to access healthcare services for emergency, urgent, and primary/specialty care needs.

“We’re making patient information available throughout the Mid City hospital, and starting next week, we’ll have an information desk staffed every afternoon and early evening in the patient waiting area at the Mid City ER,” said BRG Mid City Administrator George Bell. The hospital also plans to coordinate with neighbors, area churches and civic organizations to get information into the community in preparation for the transition. BRG will also hold community and neighborhood information sessions next month to help patients and area residents understand how and where they can access healthcare services in the event of an emergency.

“With community events beginning in March, we are committed to continuing our outreach among the friends, neighbors and supporters surrounding Mid City,” said Bell. “And making every effort to collaborate with local first responders, state agencies and the healthcare community, we are committed to making this transition effective and educational for everyone impacted by this change in our city’s healthcare.”

BRG has also reached out to area transit providers so that residents and riders know how to access local hospitals, urgent care facilities and primary care clinics. BRG has also developed its own ambulance service to transfer hospital patients only between its Picardy Avenue and Florida Boulevard campuses, in an effort to meet inpatient needs in the most efficient manner possible, while reducing wait times and improving flow of inter-campus care and specialty services. While not able to respond to 911 calls, the hospital does anticipate that its transport preparedness efforts will support in easing transition needs resulting from its Mid City ER closure.

Utilizing Lean Six Sigma principles, BRG is working toward optimizing the flow of care processes throughout the entire patient experience continuum - from arrival to discharge. Ongoing initiatives include reducing wait times, 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.

“We’ve increased the inpatient bed count on our Bluebonnet campus and are reconfiguring the Bluebonnet ER and related processes. We’re committed to maintaining the high level of healthcare quality for which our hospitals are known, and we’re equally committed to offering the award-winning customer service our patients and community expect of the General,” said BRG Chief Executive Officer Mark Slyter, FACHE. “Though this transition is the largest operational change our organization has undertaken in many years, it does not change our mission and commitment to Mid City, or the pride we take in serving as Baton Rouge’s first and trusted hospital.”

To ensure an equally seamless transition for its internal teams, BRG is carefully planning around anticipated volume increases at its Bluebonnet campus with efforts to minimize staffing reductions.

“Dedicated employees across our system are working tirelessly on transition planning to ensure an effective transition,” said BRG Chief Nursing Officer Anna Cazes, RN, MSN, DNS. “We’re doing our very best to retain as many employees as possible, but for anyone whose position with us is permanently impacted, we are committed to taking care of them with fairness and respect for the loyalty and service they have provided our patients and hospital.”

Through BRG’s Employee Career Center, counselors will provide support services including opportunities for reassignment or transfer within the system, or if displaced, positions available among area employers with whom the hospital networks. In addition, the hospital’s Employee Care Center will provide assistance with social and wellness services, humanitarian aid, financial counseling, as well as spiritual and emotional support.

BRG’s community outreach efforts are expected to continue in the spring, and beyond the anticipated closure of the Mid City ER. In addition, the hospital’s Affordable Care Act free enrollment assistance series, offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both campuses, will conclude once Open Enrollment ends on February 15.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center

Baton Rouge General Medical Center is a full-service community hospital with 591 licensed beds between two campuses. As the first hospital in Baton Rouge, opening its doors in 1900, Baton Rouge General has a long history of groundbreaking milestones, as well as providing the Greater Baton Rouge community with high quality healthcare for generations. From its birth center to senior services and state-of-the-art heart and cancer care, Baton Rouge General provides care for the whole family at every age and every stage of life.

Baton Rouge General has affiliations with and serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine. In addition to serving as a satellite campus for Tulane medical students in the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Discovery) Academy program, Baton Rouge General also offers a Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Sports Medicine Fellowship Program, School of Nursing and School of Radiologic Technology. Baton Rouge General, an accredited teaching hospital since 1991, is committed to exceptional medical education and serves a diverse population that is representative of the types of patients, injuries, illnesses and healthcare needs most frequently seen by physicians in private practice.

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