Beauregard Memorial Hospital: Practicing the Golden Rule

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BMH-thumbBeauregard Memorial Hospital is a 60-bed, acute-care hospital located in DeRidder, La. As a sole community provider, Beauregard Memorial has served the entire parish of Beauregard, as well as Vernon Parish and surrounding areas, for over 60 years.

The hospital has survived many heady waters, mainly because no matter what changes have come its way, Beauregard has remained anchored to one guiding principle: the Golden Rule.

Treating every patient like they’re family

“The foundation of Beauregard Memorial’s mission is treating every patient and every employee like they are part of the hospital’s family,” Anita Thibodeaux, chief nursing officer, R.N., APRN, MSN, and FNP-BC, said. “I have been part of the Beauregard family for 33 years, and there is no greater place to work. You get to know the people that you’re taking care of and have a positive impact on their lives.”

One aspect of rural health care often taken for granted is the close relationship that exists between the medical professional and their patients. Oftentimes, focusing on people instead of policies, is an essential ingredient of rural care.

When a loved one is sick and needs medical attention, the most comforting aspect to patients and family members is to know that someone genuinely cares about them. Beauregard believes this is rural medicine at its best.

Treating patients like they’re part of the family also guides rural organizations like Beauregard through the constantly stormy seas of today’s health-care industry.

Overcoming obstacles with common sense

“Rural health care often has no choice but to focus on the patient,” Darrell Kingham, CPA, chief financial officer and part of the Beauregard Memorial family for 24 years, said. “After all, there are numerous other obstacles to overcome, primarily the difficulty in acquiring capital resources and attracting talent.”

Although Beauregard Memorial faces the same challenges many rural hospitals throughout the country face and continue to struggle with, such as the rising cost of health care and decreased reimbursements, the hospital has made tremendous improvements and has experienced a $5 million-dollar turnaround in the last year.

The organization credits hard work, dedication, good people, physician recruitment, new service lines, increased volume, and an emphasis on the patient experience as contributing to this impressive success.

“Over the past year, our focus has been on two main areas: recruitment and volume,” Kingham said. “We have signed four primary-care physicians in an effort to shore up our primary-care base and opened an urgent-care clinic to take some of the burden off the emergency room.”

The hospital also recently opened a rural health clinic in the southern part of the parish, started a sleep-study program, started a hospitalist program, started an athletic training program, purchased a 128-slice CT machine, and opened a new ICU wing.

The turnaround at Beauregard has not been “rocket science,” however. The hospital has simply focused on building relationships with physicians, employees, and the community.

A reason to use and trust the hospital

The medical staff at Beauregard had one goal in mind as the hospital regained its footing: giving patients and their families a great experience when they had to use the hospital’s services.

“The initiative we have pioneered in order to enhance the quality and safety in our care for patients is to put ourselves in their shoes,” Randa Smith, BSN, R.N., director of inpatient services and part of the Beauregard Memorial family for eight years, said. “We put patients first at Beauregard Memorial; the quality and care we offer to patients does not differ from one to another. Over the last six months, our patient satisfaction scores, as well as our quality scores have skyrocketed, which I believe has been a major influence in our recent growth and success. We’ve gotten back to the model of where we’re honored to take care of people, and it’s a privilege for us to do that.”

This model of honor, where the privilege isn’t for the patients but for the ones providing care, will guide Beauregard through health-care reform’s already-rocky roll-out and into the future.

“As we move into the future, Beauregard Memorial Hospital will continue to provide and promote new services,” Thibodeaux said. “Rural hospitals bring so much to local communities and provide an invaluable service.

“Beauregard Memorial Hospital impacts our local community in tremendous ways. We are one of the largest employers in DeRidder and have a tremendous opportunity, even an obligation, to influence and affect the health care of the community in a positive way. Rural communities deserve first class health care and that is what patients receive at Beauregard Memorial Hospital.”

Many thanks to Kelli C. Broocks, director of public relations, human resources, and physician recruitment at Beauregard Memorial Hospital, for her assistance on this article.

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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