BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A North Baton Rouge health center is offering something a little different as residents continue to ask for more options.
With the closures of the emergency rooms at Earl K. Long and Baton Rouge General Mid-City, what is happening at the LSU Health's North Clinic on Airline Highway may be one of the answers and even a life line of sorts for those needing care in this area. The clinic is a division of Our Lady of the Lake.
As state officials scramble to find ways to pay for costly healthcare, the people there say their figures show that model actually saves the state money. Newly released figures show emergency room visits across the area are now down and visits to the urgent care are up.
"So it saves them time it saves the money," said Dr. Gregory Garner.
Garner said what is happening there could be a real life saver as opposed to having to run to an emergency room for things that can easily be treated in their own back yard.
"One, it's in the community it gives them better access. Two, when you go to the ER they're trying to eliminate life-threatening illnesses or situations, coming here, you're able to get everything looked at," Garner said.
Hospital officials said the urgent care part of the clinic sees a little more than 3,000 patients a month, and care at the clinic in most cases is cheaper than a visit to the emergency room, which in a lot of cases ends up costing us all.
"So you can imagine how much money it cost to take care of people in emergency department and got lots of resources that are available there. In urgent care environment it is much more cost-efficient," said Laura Davis with LSU Health BR.
It is one of two clinics serving North Baton Rouge along with the Mid-City Cling on North Foster Drive. Kenneth Peeples said having this kind of access is invaluable.
"I wouldn't be able to go to the doctor if it wasn't for this place. Besides having to go to an emergency room but I can't afford that so it's vital," Peeples said.
The North Clinic's urgent care center is open 24-7 and opened soon after Earl K. Long closed. Their goal is to help people establish a relationship with a doctor that can help them long-term, not in a quick visit to the emergency room.