Health Care

Cutting Edge

by Lisa Hanchey

Dr. Michael Peebles

Photo by Robin May

2014 brings new ER and surgical plaza to LGMC.

Two years after breaking ground, Lafayette General Medical Center’s new emergency department and surgical platform are now in full swing. On Oct. 1, LGMC’s expanded ER opened for business, following the opening of the operating rooms in June.

The $52.5 million expansion and renovation project officially began two years ago, on Oct. 8, 2012. Together, the new ED and surgical platform added approximately 82,000 square feet to LGMC, for a total of 587,902 square feet.

With the expansion to over 32,000-square-feet, the ED increased from 31 to 45 beds, including two new trauma rooms. This additional space allows the hospital to treat more than 100,000 ER patients annually. “The new emergency department has the space we need to take care of our current patient volume, as well as the continued growth in patient visits that we are experiencing,” says Dr. Michael Peebles, medical director of Emergency Services.

The construction brings LGMC to a total of 365 beds, making it the largest full-service, acute-care medical center in Acadiana. “Along with improving our ability to see a higher number of patients more quickly, the larger exam rooms and integration of technology within the new space make it easier for our medical staff to care for those patients,” Peebles explains. “The advanced trauma rooms we have built are also critical as we move forward with our plans to become a designated trauma center.”

A new elevator adds direct access from the emergency helipad on the roof to the ED and surgery areas. “The trauma elevator allows the perioperative staff easy and immediate access to the ER, ICU and other surgical recovery floors,” explains Dr. Julie Broussard, medical director of anesthesiology. “The trauma elevator also shaves off critical time for patients arriving via medical helicopter, who may need to immediately go to surgery. This also allows the quick and streamlined throughput of critical patients being moved from the ER to the OR [operating room] in a matter of minutes.” The new surgery area houses 13 larger operating rooms utilizing the latest in sterilization and anti-microbial technology.

The larger operating rooms allow physicians to perform procedures more efficiently. “Prior to moving to the new platform, the physical layout of the rooms was a huge barrier to efficiently booking surgical cases,” Broussard explains. “All of the old operating rooms were different shapes and sizes, which impaired the versatility of booking surgery cases and was a reason for long case delays. This barrier no longer exists, as all of our new ORs are spacious enough to accommodate any type of case.”

A new electronic tracking board system allows doctors and staff to track patients from admission to discharge. “The system enables me to always know exactly what phase of surgery my patient is in,” Broussard says. “From the time they arrive to the time they are discharged from the recovery room, each OR member can keep track of the patient moving through the perioperative experience. This helps the doctors and periop nurses anticipate and prepare to receive the patient for the next step in the perioperative process.”

The redesigned exterior of the ER features a new ambulance entrance and a haz-mat containment and decontamination area. A new set of entry doors along the west side facing the Heymann Center allows for convenient access to the hospital. “The new Emergency Department was designed in conjunction with our new flow process to facilitate getting patients out of the waiting room and into a treatment area as quickly as possible,” Peebles notes. “It has accomplished that mission.”

Another part of the project was the new parking garage. The six-story structure features 343 spaces serving both the hospital and the Heymann Center. “The convenient new parking garage adjacent to the new OR platform really helps shave off travel time for surgeons and enables the surgeons to ‘pop in and out’ of the surgery department quickly,” Broussard says. “This added convenience also decreases the perioperative team’s response time for urgent and emergent cases.”

So far, the transition is going smoothly. “All of these improvements will continue to pay dividends for the citizens of the Acadiana region in providing the highest level of health care at LGMC,” Peebles says.

On Nov. 10, the 12,656-square-foot Oil Center surgical plaza opened for surgeries in the medical office building located at 1000 W. Pinhook Road. Co-owned by LGMC and a group of physicians, the ambulatory surgery center features seven pre-op beds, four operating rooms and 12 post-op/recovery beds. The facility is geared toward less complicated procedures related to ophthalmology, ENT, plastic surgery and pain management.