After more than 40 years of busy halls and full patient rooms, Earl K. Long Hospital sits all but empty and eerily quiet.
"A lot of us loved it. It's been very special to a lot of us because of the training and because of the people. What people have to realize is change is sometimes inevitable and it is here," said Earl K. Long Medical Director Dr. Kevin Reed
After three years of planning and gradual transitions, EKL will finally shut its doors on Monday. But, its services will be reborn in the form of a partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and Woman's Hospital. The smaller LSU neighborhood clinics that were associated with the Earl will remain open.
"The worry is that we're losing a facility and patients won't have access to that care. Well, we're gaining a facility across town that will have all the sub-specials along with it," said Reed.
"There's a lot of comfort in that many of the clinics, the Mid-City Clinic, the North Baton Rouge Clinic, the South Baton Rouge Clinic are staying right where they are. That's a comfort. You can call the same number for an appointment, you hopefully see some of the same faces," explained Vice President of Our Lady of the Lake Operations Stephanie Manson.
To help continue the healthcare services once at the Earl, the LSU clinics are expanding their primary care access, and the Lake will open a 24 hour urgent care center inside the North Baton Rouge Clinic which is just blocks from the old hospital.
"We're excited about that option for patients who really need to see a doctor but don't have an appointment or it's not an emergency they certainly don't need to come to the ER. We feel it's an additional access point," said Manson.
OB-GYN services at the Earl have already been transferred to a clinic on the campus of Woman's Hospital, and the Lake has already taken on most of the other in-patient services.
"That's the major change on Monday is that there will be no inpatient services, ER or otherwise at EKL, but we've transitioned that over the last few weeks and really months through the attrition that's gone done," said Reed. "I think on Monday there won't be a great deal of change because we've eased into this the best way we can."