BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While another medical facility prepares to close in north Baton Rouge, the wait is on for a new emergency room.
Construction is currently well underway at the new Our Lady of the Lake ER along Airline Hwy. near the site of the former Earl K. Long Hospital. They first broke ground on the site back in January. Work is slated to wrap in October, and they say they will begin seeing patients by early November.
"We will see everyone and we will stabilize you," said Terrie Sterling, chief operating officer for OLOL. "It will have physicians 24 hours a day, so we'll be able to provide the care that's needed in the community."
The countdown to the new ER comes as the Champion Medical Center prepares to call it quits. Located on Howell Blvd., Champion was once considered a possible home for an ER in the northern part of the city.
Champion reached out to the Louisiana Department of Health Thursday, indicating that they will close their doors sometime in the near future.
"For me, the loss is the what could have been," said EBR councilwoman Chauna Banks.
Banks says she is frustrated to see the privately-owned hospital shut down and blames it in part on the state's decision to partner with OLOL for the new ER site not far away from Champion's location. She says Champion's closure means dozens of jobs will be lost, and the potential for more development will go away.
"Anywhere you see hospitals, you see Walgreens, CVS. The possibilities were endless," said Banks.
A call to Champion's parent company was not returned as of when this story was posted.
The director of surgery at Champion, Dr. Craig Schaap, released the following statement after the announcement:
While outpatient services stopped on July 13, Champion Medical Center says it will officially close on August 13.