WEST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Representatives with the West Feliciana Hospital have confirmed that a paperwork issue has led to the delayed opening of the new facility.
Howard Arceneaux, spokesman for the hospital, tells 9News a form that's being processed by a Medicare subcontractor is the source of the delay. He says Hurricane Irma affected a facility in Jacksonville, Florida and the paperwork is having to be re-routed and processed elsewhere before the facility can officially open its doors.
The 53,000 square foot facility was supposed to begin accepting patients on Wednesday, August 30.
Hospital CEO, Lee Chastant, says the form they are waiting on is a Medicare form 855-A, which is a form the Louisiana Department of Health needs on file in order for the facility to relocate.
"Literally in this particular case, it's a change of address for Medicare," Chastant said. "It's a Medicare application for a change of address. It's not that complicated, but it has to be done before anybody can get moving."
Chastant maintains they are already working to address the issue and expect the hospital to move forward with opening as soon as possible. "They didn't tell us exactly when it was going to happen, but they did tell us they were going to expedite the process," Chastant added.
The hospital is poised to be a game-changer in St. Francisville. It's the first facility of its kind built in a rural area in the state in roughly a decade.
From emergency to outpatient services, the new hospital has just about everything you can imagine. Chastant said during a preview event for the facility that it will provide an important service to the people who live in and around the area.
A handful of stakeholders, along with US Senator Bill Cassidy, toured the $28 million operation on Tuesday, August 22. Cassidy praised the hospital for answering a definite need in West Feliciana Parish. "Of course for the folks in West Feliciana, it's fantastic, but it also provides a model of what other rural hospitals can potentially look towards," Cassidy added.
This is a developing story. Check back for more information as it becomes available.