The architect’s rendering shows what Avoyelles Hospital will look when a $1 million building improvement project is finished.
The current face of Avoyelles Hospital has been the same since the building was constructed in 1979.
PLANNING FOR PROGRESS
Allegiance Health Management President Rock Bordelon (right) and Avoyelles Hospital CEO Rene Goux review plans for the $1 million improvement project for Avoyelles Hospital in Marksville.
Avoyelles Hospital: A New look for a new era
For almost 40 years, the hospital just outside of the Marksville city limits has changed its name and its owners, but has looked the same.
Earlier this month work began on a major improvement project that is designed to change how the public sees the hospital -- in more ways than one.
The hospital was purchased by Allegiance Health Management last year. Allegiance President Rock Bordelon, a Hessmer native, said the almost $1 million project “is just the first phase of a multi-phase project to improve the hospital and show our commitment to the community by putting money back into the community to help the people of Avoyelles Parish.”
The project will change the main entrance area of the hospital by constructing a 4,665 sq. ft. addition to house several offices, an expanded board/education room and reflooring approximately 8,000 sq. ft. in the patient service areas throughout the building.
Demolition work began July 2. The project is expected to be finished next spring.
‘WILL LOOK LIKE A HOSPITAL'
“In addition to recruiting quality physicians and staff, we have to improve the appearance of the hospital to ensure that the local people use their local hospital,” Bordelon said. “When we are finished, this hospital will look like a hospital.”
He said the project will allow the hospital to move employees currently working out of trailers on site to move into the main building. This will not only put the employees in a better work environment, it will be more efficient in providing services to the patients, Bordelon said.
Hospital CEO Rene Goux, a Mansura native, has worked in health care administration for Ochsner, CommCare nursing homes, Cabrini Hospital and began his career at this hospital when it was built in 1979. He recently came back to the hospital when long-time CEO David Mitchel retired.
Goux said the project is truly an Avoyelles Parish project.
“Brent Scallan of Marksville is the general contractor,” Goux said. “Wayne Coco of Simmesport is the architect.”
Goux said the plans for the hospital include more than putting on a pretty new face.
“We are also bringing new health care services to the parish,” he said.
WOMEN'S & CHILDREN'S CENTER
One future project Bordelon is particularly excited about is a “women’s and children’s center with expanded services -- ob/gyn and pediatrics.
“To do this right, we will need a new wing to the hospital to provide pre-delivery and post-delivery areas as well as the nursery area,” Bordelon added.
He said a review of health statistics for last year found that 2,049 babies were born to Avoyelles Parish women.
“Most of those babies could have been born in this hospital, if we had those services available,” Bordelon said.
Instead, women have to go to Alexandria, Opelousas or other out-of-parish hospitals to deliver their babies.
Bordelon said the statistics show there are thousands of children in the parish who see pediatricians in other parishes.
There are pediatricians in Avoyelles, but there is a need for more, he added.
“There is definitely a need for more services for children and women in this parish,” hospital Chief Operating Officer Tim Curry added.
Efforts are underway to recruit two OB/GYN specialists.
“Whenever we add a service, we need two physicians to ensure full-time coverage,” he noted.
Curry said the hospital has had success in recruiting several new specialists in the past few months and will have new additions coming on board soon.
The hospital recently began providing pulmonary rehab services for those suffering with lung-related illnesses and conditions.
Pain management specialist Dr. Melanie Firmin will report for duty in late July, allowing patients who need injections and other pain management services to get those needs met here rather than having to travel to address their pain issues, Curry added.
The addition of the Rural Health Clinic on Tunica Drive in Marksville has allowed the hospital to meet more of the public’s primary care needs, Curry noted.
“The clinic is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now, but we plan to expand its schedule to include weekend hours,” he continued. “Dr. John Lemoine, nurse practitioners Claire Coutee and Sara Hilstead, and manager Nell Madrigal are doing a good job meeting the public’s needs at the clinic.”
The hospital’s officers do not have delusions of grandeur for the small, rural medical center, but they do have reasonable expectations that they are committed to realizing.
“We want to meet all of the health care demographics of the families in Avoyelles Parish,” Goux said.
“We will not have a neo-natal intensive care unit and we will not be doing heart surgery in this hospital,” Bordelon said, “but we will be able to meet all of the normal health care needs of the community once we have finished this multi-phase improvement plan.”