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Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the NeuroMedical Center announced a new partnership Wednesday that will lead to the establishment of a 20-bed neuromedical intensive care unit.

Scott Wester, president and chief executive officer of OLOL, said the $13 million facility is set to open in December 2020. It will allow the hospital to offer better care to the 2,000 stroke patients it sees each year.

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and the NeuroMedical Center announced a partnership Wednesday that will lead to establishing a 20-bed neuro intensive care unit.

Scott Wester, president and chief executive officer of OLOL, said the $13 million facility is expected to open in December 2020. It will allow the hospital to offer better care to the 2,000 stroke patients it sees each year.

The ICU will involve building out 27,000 square feet of space on the ninth floor of the hospital's heart and vascular institute. The ICU will have its own CT scanner, allowing stroke patients to get access to advanced diagnostic equipment without transporting them across the hospital. About 20 new ICU nurses will be hired to staff the unit.

"Today's announcement expands the footprint of comprehensive stroke and neurological care, not only in Baton Rouge, but across the state of Louisiana," Wester said.

"I can remember several years ago when a friend of my father's had to go out of the city to receive neurological care," said Dr. Steve Gremillion, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake. "That's not going to happen any more. That care's going to be provided right here at Our Lady of the Lake with the help of the NeuroMedical Center."

OLOL and the NeuroMedical Center have been working together for the past 40 years, said Dr. Gerald Calegan, chief neurologist at the NeuroMedical Center. This has led to services such as in-house neurologists at OLOL, round the clock stroke coverage, vascular neurosurgeons and a telestroke network to serve community hospitals that don't have access to neurologists. 

"Despite all these successes, we were not satisfied," Calegan said. "We're going to continue to work together to meet our goal to be a center of excellence for the region."

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Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.