Ochsner Medical Complex High Grove, a $116 million medical center featuring a multi-specialty clinic and surgical hospital, will open next week in Baton Rouge, serving as an “anchor site” for the New Orleans-based health system’s operations in the Capital Region.
Ochsner on Wednesday closed its existing medical complex on Summa Avenue to patients, as it moved to the new complex, near the Mall of Louisiana. The new facility is expected to serve 2,000 patients a day, up from around 1,300 patients currently served each day at the Summa location, said Eric McMillen, Ochsner Baton Rouge CEO.
Construction crews are still working on a 10-bed surgical hospital that will open this summer next door to the main office building.
On a tour of the facilities Wednesday, McMillen ticked off a list of new features that makes the complex cutting edge. Patients will have access to a retail pharmacy on-site, an “O Bar” for health tech and an MRI machine that plays music and features customizable lights and even beach scenes. The sleek new office building has a host of other features McMillen says are designed to make things as easy as possible on patients. It also has a pool for aqua-therapy, and a new bridge connects the complex to apartments and a retirement community on the other side of a creek.
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But he also pointed out the space left empty. When the surgical hospital opens, it will have an empty second floor, with the first floor operating with the 10 surgical beds. Eventually, three more stories could be added. At the medical office building, the fifth floor will be half empty for future expansion. On Wednesday a bulldozer moved dirt on Ochsner’s 7.5 acres that sit vacant next door.
“This facility was built with the future in mind,” McMillen said. “If in the future we need to expand, we can do that.”
Ochsner, like several of the region’s other major health care organizations, are expecting the rapid growth in the health sector in the Capital City to continue in coming years. And they are investing millions to keep up with it.
Another trend evident at Ochsner’s new complex is the shift toward outpatient procedures. The trend is driven by two main factors, according to Dr. Aldo Russo, regional medical director of Ochsner Baton Rouge. New data about surgery shows staying at a facility for an extended period of time increases the risk of complications, he said.
But there’s also a financial component, as insurance companies and the federal government look for ways to cut costs in the health care industry. Less time in a hospital bed means fewer costs.