PLAQUEMINE - Ochsner Medical Center Baton Rouge’s chief executive officer briefed the Iberville Parish Council on Tuesday night on Ochsner’s plans to operate a medical facility in Plaquemine.
Mitch Wadsen said Ochsner has had an interest in opening such a facility in the area for several years.
Wadsen said he envisions a facility open 24 hours per day providing emergency care and laboratory and radiology services on an outpatient basis.
The proposed facility would also have physician offices for doctors providing obstetric and midwife services, Wadsen said.
Ochsner administrators have visited facilities in Cleveland and Houston, he said, to gauge how well a similar operation would fare in Plaquemine from an economic and medical standpoint.
If Ochsner and Iberville Parish government are able to hammer out an agreement, Wadsen said, the proposed facility - not quite a hospital and not quite a clinic - would be the first of its kind in Louisiana.
Similar facilities are becoming more popular nationwide, he said.
If the Plaquemine facility realizes the same success as other operations around the nation, Wadsen said, Ochsner would be open to adding other services including inpatient beds.
Parish President Mitch Ourso said the parish is using state disaster recovery money to build and equip the proposed facility before leasing it to Ochsner.
The money Ochsner would pay to the parish as part of a lease agreement would be used to help low- and moderate-income residents pay for medical services at the facility, Ourso said.
The money from Ochsner could also be used to build a second story onto the facility to house about 25 inpatient beds in the future, he said.
The parish, Ourso said, has its sights on a property along La. 1 with sufficient infrastructure needed for the facility.
Ourso said he would keep the Parish Council updated on negotiations to acquire the property as the details become more clear.
Currently, parish consultants and Ochsner attorneys are ironing out details related to opening the facility, Ourso said.
It would be the first medical facility in the area since River West Medical Center closed its doors after Hurricane Gustav struck in 2008.
The two sides have signed a nonbinding letter of intent - valid through June 30 - to build an emergency-care facility for urgent outpatient services.
If the two sides can agree on the details, Ourso said, the parish government and Ochsner would sign a “mutually acceptable, binding agreement.”