BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center has reached an agreement with the state of Louisiana to open an emergency room in north Baton Rouge.
The ER will operate out of OLOL's existing LSU Health Urgent Care Clinic on Airline Highway and will be staffed by emergency physicians 24/7 with a full-service lab and will be an extension of the main OLOL campus on Essen Lane. The deal is part of the state's renegotiated contract with the OLOL system to provide charity care in Baton Rouge.
Metro Councilwoman Erika Green said she was excited when she found out an emergency room was coming to District 5, the area she represents.
"Where we are is at a point where we have limited access to physicians and emergency care is very important," Green said.
"It's a modification of a new facility that meets the standards of an emergency room," said Commission of Administration Jay Dardenne.
Dardenne said the state will provide millions of dollars to help OLOL get the emergency room started.
"$5.5 million gets us the build out that will take place on the current facility that was near the old Earl K. Long Hospital," Dardenne said.
Even though there are urgent care facilities, north Baton Rouge has been without an emergency room since Baton Rouge General shut down the Mid-City ER in March 2015 and Earl K. Long shut down in April 2013.
Since then, many politicians have fought long and hard to get a new hospital or ER facility for the area.
Our Lady of the Lake said more than 100 patients are seen at the LSU Health Urgent Care Clinic every day. Now, by adding an ER to the existing urgent care clinic, they hope to reduce the number of follow-up visits to the ER.
Green said she is grateful to Gov. John Bel Edwards adding this is at least a start in the right direction, especially for north Baton Rouge.
"We have in our community high rates of hypertension, diabetes, even HIV aids," Green said.
Edwards will hold a news conference early next week to officially announce plans and an opening date.
Below is a statement from OLOL president and CEO K. Scott Wester: