April 1, 2016 12:30 AM

In an effort to meet the needs of a faster-growing aging population, Acadia General Hospital, which is managed by Lafayette General Health, says it will shift its focus on providing more adult medical services.


“LGH continuously evaluates the services offered throughout our health system,” says LGH President David Callecod in a press release. “We have an ongoing appraisal of community needs through our local Community Health Needs Assessment and other forms of community input.”


With an expanded ER campaign currently underway, AGH will now analyze and explore several different additional adult services, including expansion of outpatient surgery and pain management. This will aid in the recruitment of more local primary care doctors and physician specialists in the areas of cardiology, orthopedics and pain management.


According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Acadia Parish will see a 1.5 percent growth rate of women of childbearing age over the next five years contrasted against the 13.3 percent of adults who will turn 65.


LGH says the long-term success of AGH hinges on the hospital’s ability to deliver care most needed by the residents of Acadia Parish. However, these residents are not utilizing AGH to deliver their babies, as almost 70 percent leave the parish to deliver at other facilities. As a result, AGH will close its OB service on April 30 to pave the way for greater enhancements to adult service offerings.


Due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates at AGH, the hospital will lose approximately $800,000 in 2016 just in its obstetrics service line. With capital dollars needed for obstetrics equipment upgrades estimated to cost an additional $800,000, AGH is facing a $1.6 million deficit for this service, LGH confirms.


Crowley-based obstetricians Dr. Jimmy Skrasek, Dr. B. Cason de la Houssaye Jr., and Dr. Michael Melanson, will remain in Acadia Parish to provide all prenatal and antenatal care. Skrasek intends to join the staff at Lafayette General Medical Center and perform deliveries at that facility.


Three health care facilities that deliver babies are each about 20 miles from AGH. In addition to LGMC in Lafayette, American Legion Hospital in Jennings and Acadian Medical Center in Eunice offer obstetrics services. If a woman delivers her baby at LGMC, hospital-based pediatricians, known as pediatric hospitalists, will care for the newborns during their hospital stay. After discharge, the newborn care will return to the child’s local pediatrician in Acadia Parish.


“We’ve been studying the OB service line at AGH since we began managing the facility,” said Callecod. “There are simply not enough people using the service to justify keeping it when other services are in much higher demand.”


“LGH has been evaluating services at AGH for some time,” AGH Interim Administrator Don Trexler says in the press release. “Once I reviewed the data, it is clear that we must focus on providing more adult services in order to make sure we have the health care our community needs.


“I’m very happy to report that all 28 of our employees in the obstetrics service line will be given opportunities at AGH or elsewhere within the LGH system. With LGMC recently expanding, there are positions open for employees who wish to remain in obstetrics, but there are numerous positions available in other areas as well.”


According to the release, this decision does not affect the gynecology services offered at AGH.


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