Ever so quietly Friday, Regional Medical Center of Acadiana under new ownership is now Lafayette General Southwest _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- A Lafayette General sign is laid out on the parking lot before being installed on the hospital building as Lafayette General Southwest, the former Regional Medical Center of Southwest Louisiana, officially takes over the hospital Friday, November 6, 2015, in Lafayette. Lafayette General Medical Center acquired the HCA-owned hospital earlier this year, and its takeover became official at midnight Friday.

Lafayette General Southwest is being converted into an orthopedic center and long-term rehabilitation and medical care facility, while maintaining an emergency room.

The transition at 2810 Ambassador Caffery Parkway is expected to take place in March, officials with Lafayette General Health said Friday.

Lafayette General Medical Center at 1214 Coolidge St. will absorb all cardiac services that have been performed at the southwest campus so that the facility can be established as a dedicated orthopedic center.

“In centralizing both cardiology and orthopedics, we are creating a better care model for our patients,” said Patrick W. Gandy Jr., LGMC's chief executive officer. “These changes will result in more patient care at both campuses and add needed inpatient capacity at LGMC.”

Lafayette General Health anticipates hiring more clinical staff, especially nurses, with the changes.

Putting all cardiology services under one roof at LGMC will boost coordination of resources at a facility equipped to handle a multitude of cardiac-related illnesses and emergencies, officials said. A catheterization lab renovation and expansion project already is underway that will give LGMC seven cath lab suites and 28 short-stay patient rooms. 

The southwest campus will get an upgrade that will allow all its operating rooms and related space to accommodate orthopedics, which will free up operating rooms at the main campus for future growth there.

Nineteen patient rooms on the third floor at the southwest campus will be dedicated for orthopedic patients, with a staff dedicated to orthopedics. Two of the operating rooms will use Mako robotic arm-assisted surgical technology for knee and hip replacement. 

“We are creating the best orthopedic facility in our region, and with the type of care and experience we provide, patients will make us the go-to destination,” said Dr. John Schutte,  LGMC medical director of orthopedics.

Officials noted Lafayette General Medical Center is currently the only hospital in a four-state region of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas to have the distinction as a "Center of Excellence" in joint replacement for knee, hip and shoulder replacement.

Officials said treatment of orthopedic trauma will continue at LGMC, and orthopedic services will remain at Lafayette General Surgical Hospital.

In addition, LHC Group will relocate its 24-bed long-term acute care hospital from the main campus to the southwest campus, making 24 more patient beds available at LGMC.

LHC Group will manage the 21-bed physical rehabilitation unit at Lafayette General Southwest, where a 25-bed skilled nursing facility will also be opened. Lafayette General Southwest retains oversight of 48 total beds on its campus. 

Lafayette General Health said it intends to partner with LHC Group for other post-acute care services.

Lafayette General Health is a nonprofit, community-owned regional health care system with facilities that serve a 10-parish area of south-central Louisiana.