Outpatient pediatric services return to UHC campus

by Leslie Turk

The Pediatric Clinic is housed in the same location previously closed by state budget cuts in June 2012.

University Hospital & Clinics announced Thursday that outpatient pediatric services are returning to the UHC campus Monday, Dec. 23. The Pediatric Clinic returns to the same location previously closed by state budget cuts in June 2012; at the time, the clinic was part of University Medical Center. The renamed UHC is now under the management of Lafayette General Health, with the clinic providing direct admission to Lafayette General Medical Center's pediatrics floor.

Drs. Richard F. Howes and Cecilia T. Nervez are returning to UHC, where they successfully ran the pediatric clinic prior to its shutdown.

Howes is one of a handful of physicians statewide who is board certified in developmental-behavioral pediatrics. In addition to general pediatric care, Howes and Nervez will treat ADHD, autism and other developmental/behavioral disorders, and coordinate early intervention services. Pediatric counseling and child/adolescent psychology are services UHC plans to add in the future. Both physicians will continue to train and educate LSU/LGH residents.

By re-opening the Pediatric Clinic, children seen at UHC will have convenient access to audiology services, state-of-the-art imaging and speech therapy. The location also assures ready access to urgent laboratory and diagnostic services.

UHC also announced that it recently added a wireless Auditory Brainstem Response system and is the only hospital in Acadiana with that technology. The ABR allows UHC to assess infants and young children without anesthesia, reducing the wait time for assessments and making it safer for patients by eliminating the need for sedation.

Since LGH assumed management of UHC, a capital output of nearly $750,000 has been used to purchase a new ultrasound machine, nuclear medicine camera, C-arm for surgical imaging and a stress EKG machine.

When Lafayette General Health took over UMC in July and renamed it UHC under a management agreement with the state, the local health system promised an expansion of services and retention of jobs that would have otherwise been lost. Since that time, the following services have returned or been added:

?The Orthopedic Clinic was immediately expanded to include a full-time Orthopedic medical staff, after services had been drastically reduced over the past several years

?Eight additional inpatient beds have opened

?A third operating room (OR) has opened and more OR time has been added

?Cardiology services have been enhanced through a partnership with Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) and cardiology clinic days have increased, meaning more availability for patients

?The Oncology Clinic has been enhanced with assistance from Cancer Center of Acadiana at Lafayette General in an effort to see more patients

?Plans have been made to add interventional cardiology

?An agreement is nearly in place to re-open the Medical Detoxification Unit in early 2014 (it has been closed since February 2012)