Total renovation is the current theme for Lafayette General Medical Center. The hospital was built in 1963 and last upgraded in 1983. The $70 million renovation project will add 54 square feet to each patient room. Upon completion, the hospital will have 387 beds and a facility-wide facelift.
The new hospital will maintain the existing steel and concrete from the original structure, while expanding the building on all sides. This was pivotal for Lafayette. Building the 10-story structure from scratch would have more than tripled the construction cost. However, when they were renovating the women and children’s area a few years ago, they recognized that the outer ledge of the building was load bearing and equivalent to the inner floors.
“That’s when the contractor and our architectural firm began thinking about this not as a problem, but as an opportunity related to the expansion that we needed to do in the coming year,” David Callecod, president and CEO, said. “The team got together and started looking at how we could renovate and add approximately 60 beds and position ourselves well for the future. We will have a low-cost structure, yet a brand-new facility ready to face reform.”
Growing for Health
Lafayette General Medical Center is the largest acute-care hospital serving Acadiana, the southwest corner of Louisiana. It is the fifth-largest employer in their community with approximately 1,800 employees. In the last year, through the construction process, the hospital has added more than 35 physicians to their campus. The inpatient census has gone up, as well.
“We actually grew in volume through the midst of a construction project,” Callecod said. “At the same time, we raised our patient satisfaction rates.”
Press Ganey scores went from the 35th to the 95th percentile. That same period saw pediatrics ranked in the 99th percentile, and emergency-room satisfaction rates rose to the 90th percentile. ER visits grew from 45,000 to 55,000 per year.
The organization did not seek LEED certification, but embarked on the renovation with energy efficiency in mind. Callecod estimated that Lafayette will see a 25 to 30 percent reduction in the amount of energy used simply because of design elements and the all-new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system. The new hospital introduces elements such as rubberized flooring which is slip resistant as well as antimicrobial. It also has copper-based materials on high-touch surfaces because such material has been shown to reduce infection.
Leading in Technology to Better Treat the Patient
Lafayette General has long been known to its community as a leader in technology. They have two da Vinci robotic surgical systems in use, as well as a CyberKnife, a radiosurgery system designed to treat well-defined tumors at any site in the body.
As part of the renovations, they will add a Varian TrueBeam for radiotherapy and radiosurgery. By being able to deliver higher doses to smaller areas, this will allow them to add to the complexity of cancer cases that they can treat.
“This is by far the best technology in the market for delivering radiation therapy,” Callecod said. “We now employ six full-time medical oncologists and provide services in our large, 18,000 square-feet infusion center, as well as in satellite sites around Acadiana. It is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of cancer that includes not only medical oncology, but also radiation and surgical oncology. As well, nurse navigators help the patient and families deal with the diagnosis of cancer. It has been warmly received by the community and has really changed the way cancer is taken care of in Acadiana.”
The hospital also has two new Philips Cath Labs going into place, and they are getting ready to kick off the reinstallation of the Cerner electronic medical record.
“We are having best of breed established throughout our organization as has been tested in other facilities to improve productivity, efficiency, quality and also reduce medical errors. We’re very excited about this partnership with Cerner as it is going to be a total reimplementation of the way we do business, using best practices that have been used throughout the country.” Callecod said.
Preparing for the Future
“We are no different than any other business that has to deal with the recession and deal with the economic downturn,” Callecod said. “It behooves all facilities to relook at how to provide high-quality care as efficiently as possible and squeeze out the waste.”
He added, “I see health reform as an opportunity to continue to focus on high-acuity care and to partner with surrounding hospitals to ensure that they provide the highest-quality primary care that can be delivered in their communities. Five years down the road, I see us having truly established ourselves as a large, multi-hospital system in Acadiana, providing the highest acuity and the most intensive care in our region. Our hospital is certainly going to play a part in solving the issues we have with Medicare and Medicaid in our state.
“We have four or five programs that are currently in the top five percent in the country. In those areas, we are as good as anybody. As an organization, we are on a journey to excellence to get all of our programs to that level because that is what the people of Acadiana deserve. I believe we are positioned to be that center of excellence for Louisiana.”
-by T.M. Simmons