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Southwest Louisiana’s Growing Health Sector

Learn how capital improvements and service expansions at Lake Charles hospitals have enhanced the quality of health care in Southwest Louisiana.

By Teree Caruthers on August 17, 2016

Lake Charles LA
Lake Charles / Jeff Adkins

Southwest Louisiana’s health care sector not only enhances the region’s quality of life, but also provides a healthy boost to its economy, employing more than 4,000 and funneling millions of dollars into its communities. Construction projects and expansion of services at some of the region’s leading hospitals are helping raise the bar on quality of care and improve the health of both the region’s residents and economy.

Growing Gains

Lake Charles Memorial Health System, for example, has partnered with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital to build the 30,000-square-foot wing for Memorial Specialty Hospital. Memorial Specialty, which provides long-term acute care for patients post-intensive care, will occupy the third floor of CHRISTUS St. Patrick.

Lake Charles Memorial Health System, which also includes Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women and W.O. Moss Memorial Health Clinic, is the largest, community-owned, full-service health system in Southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles Memorial Hospital recently opened a new medical office building in southwest Lake Charles, as well as a state-of-the-art intensive care unit and is undergoing expansion of its emergency services department.

Matt Felder, communications manager for Lake Charles Memorial Health System, says the organization’s capital projects are all aimed at providing the highest level of care for residents.

“Lake Charles Memorial is not just a place where diseases are diagnosed and treated. At the core of every process is the care of patients who are physically and often psychologically vulnerable, and separated from the comfort of their families and daily lives,” Felder says. “Quality of life and well-being are essential to their recovery. Support, comfort, privacy, dignity, satisfaction and safety combined with cutting-edge technology, highly skilled physicians, upgraded facilities and expanding services all contribute to the patient experience and their quality of life.”

Felder says the hospital also supports the Lake Charles community through philanthropic endeavors, free health screenings, health education and wellness programs to improve the outcomes of diseases like diabetes and hypertension that affect Southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles Memorial has established programs such as  the Get Healthy, Stay Healthy wellness program to promote and maintain healthy lifestyles for its employees, industry and community, he says.

Human Resources

As one of the largest employers in the region, the health system also recognizes the pivotal role it plays in economic development. Lake Charles Memorial employs more than 2,800 workers across a diverse group of positions and is among the largest private employers in the region.

“Memorial invests tens of millions of dollars each year in hiring new physicians, and expanding and upgrading the physical plant of the health system. An economic impact study we conducted last year shows our economic impact on the region’s economy amounts to some $900 million,” Felder says.

In addition to Lake Charles Memorial Health System, Southwest Louisiana boasts more than a dozen regional and community hospitals, including Lake Area Medical Center in Lake Charles, Cornerstone Hospital Southwest Louisiana and West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital in Sulphur, Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, South Cameron Memorial Hospital, DeQuincy Memorial Hospital, Beauregard Memorial Hospital and Allen Parish Hospital in Kinder.

Lake Area Medical Center continues to expand its services to keep pace with the region’s growing population. In particular, the hospital has expanded its surgical specialties to include gynecology, general surgery, and most recently bariatric surgery using robotic-assisted procedures and has added new surgical suites. The 88-bed, full-service acute care hospital is a regional leader in women’s health care and offers inpatient, outpatient, medical and surgical care for both children and adults.

Lake Area Medical has also embarked on an aggressive physician recruitment campaign to ramp up its staff and attract the most qualified talent to the region.

Lisa A. Guerrero, marketing director for Lake Area Medical Center, notes the hospital was recognized as one of 100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Healthcare.

“Our employees are our greatest asset and are key to how successful Lake Area Medical Center has become in Southwest Louisiana,” Guerrero says. ”We are a growing, thriving hospital that sets itself apart by creating a culture we call Community Cares that is aimed at creating and sustaining a highly reliable, safe and exceptional experience for everyone who comes through our doors. Our employees and physicians become the owners and champions of this culture and is one of the factors why patients select Lake Area Medical Center when they need safe, quality care.”

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