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How St. John the Baptist Parish Keeps Residents Healthy and Vibrant

St. John the Baptist Parish health-care providers offer diverse health and wellness options

By Teree Caruthers on April 18, 2018

LaPlace, LA
Laplace / Photo credit: Tim Mueller

A strong network of health-care providers is just one of the many economic and quality-of-life advantages St. John the Baptist Parish offers relocating businesses and families. The parish’s health-care ecosystem is anchored by Ochsner Health System, which operates the Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes and the Ochsner Medical Complex – River Parishes, both in LaPlace, as well as Ochsner Medical Center in nearby Kenner.

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Where Quality Meets Convenience

Ochsner Health Center offers a range of services, including gastroenterology, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology and neurology, urology, and internal medicine. The new, state-of-the-art Medical Complex includes a 24-hour emergency department, stroke telemedicine, radiology services and a laboratory.

“Ochsner Health System made a commitment to St. John the Baptist Parish with a new facility and our team continues to deliver on that promise. This commitment includes the creation of new jobs, improvements to our facilities, and enhanced access to nationally recognized and necessary care close to home,†says Stephen E. Robinson, Jr, CEO of Ochsner Medical Center. “As a system, Ochsner is focused on finding ways to make quality health care as convenient as possible. This commitment to innovation is demonstrated through our expansion of telemedicine services, Epic – our electronic health record system – and convenient online appointment scheduling via MyOchsner. Ochsner shapes its growth and outreach efforts based on community health assessments, making sure that we’re addressing the needs of our neighbors.”

In fact, the health system has invested more than $30 million in facility renovations and building projects, to ensure its services are meeting the needs of the region’s residents. Most recently, Ochsner partnered with Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare to turn the old River Parishes Hospital building into an 82-bed behavioral health facility called River Place Behavioral Health.

“Our community is lacking in behavioral health services and this is a great step in making sure that people can get the care they need locally,†Robinson says.

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Healing the Mind and Body

Louisiana ranks in the bottom half of states for access to behavioral care and care related to substance abuse, which is why Ochsner invested in the new behavioral health facility and why therapists Nyoki Casey Brown and Candice Sorapuru opened Innovative Approaches Counseling Center in 2013. Brown says the center began as a one-room office, in which she and Sorapuru took turns treating patients, but quickly grew to a thriving practice with three treatment rooms, including a group therapy room and a pool therapy room.

“We offer services, such as cognitive behavior therapy, grief counseling and play therapy. When we started our practice, we wanted to make sure that we were providing a level of quality care that not only addresses the physical health, but the mental health as well,†Brown says. “We have people in our community who are dealing with adjustment disorder, and adjustment disorder is when a person has trouble adjusting to something that has happened in life. It could be losing a job; it could be a divorce; it could be getting married; it could be having a baby; it could be grief. Those little, subtle things can take a toll on your mental health.”

The St. John VA Outpatient Clinic in Reserve is yet another community resource offering mental health and primary care services for veterans. Ochsner’s Robinson says the parish’s heath-care providers are dedicated to the long-term health of the region, making sure to integrate health and wellness education and preventative screenings into their menu of services.

“Together, we want to build a stronger, healthier community,†he says. “Education is a big component of making that dream a reality. Our health-care team is active in the community and focused not only on treatments, but on education and advocacy. Ochsner offers screenings, information sessions and has a wealth of health education and information on our website. Creating a healthier region, providing added convenience, and serving as a resource for our patients and neighbors has a great impact on quality of life.”

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