LHC Group Inc., a premier provider of post-acute health care services primarily in rural markets, announced that it has formed two separate joint venture partnerships: Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center. LHC Group will began providing services under these partnerships July 1.

Baseball great Johnny Bench made patient rounds at Our Lady of Lourdes' orthopedic unit on July 24. Bench, who was in town to share his experiences with joint replacement, also autographed baseballs in the unit. Later that night, the former Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame catcher was a guest speaker at a free public seminar for joint pain sufferers at the City Club at River Ranch. Bench had total hip replacement surgery in 2004 after suffering for years from chronic joint pain. The evening was sponsored by medical device manufacturer Stryker and the Arthritis Association of Louisiana. Excelling behind the plate and more so in the batter's box, Bench suffered knee problems in his later years as a player, a common ailment for catchers. For the last three years of his career, he played mostly third or first base, catching about 13 games. During one of his final games on Sept. 17, 1983, proclaimed "Johnny Bench Night" at Riverfront Stadium, he hit his 389th and final home run.

Women's & Children's Hospital is the first hospital in the state to introduce a OB Hospitalist program, which means an experienced, board certified OB/GYN will be present at the hospital every day out of the year, 24 hours a day, to assist with the care and treatment of OB/GYN patients. Such programs are fairly new to the medical community but have been well received by both patients and physicians in the few hospitals that have implemented them.

Bill Gonsoulin, lab section coordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, was honored with the June 2007 Franciscan Service Award for exemplifying the spirit and ideals of St. Francis of Assisi in his daily working environment and in the community. Gonsoulin was selected to receive the prestigious reward by his fellow employees and volunteers within the medical center. Gonsoulin has been employed with Lourdes since July 1996, beginning as a part-time medical technician. He has served in the positions of clinical lab scientist, microbiology coordinator and lab section coordinator.

Dr. Jason Varnado of Tiger Dental in New Iberia was profiled in the June 2007 issue of Dental Ecomonics magazine. The article, by Dr. Michael Gradeless, spotlights Varnado's growing practice and the journey to success he has mapped out for himself and his staff. His office is located at 408 Jefferson Terrace in New Iberia.

Breast Pumps Direct, a Louisiana based Internet retailer, will continue to raise breastfeeding support and awareness by participating in the global efforts of World Breastfeeding Week 2007 to promote breastfeeding as the number one choice for infant feeding. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in more than 120 countries each year during the first week of August to raise awareness and support for breastfeeding. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action developed WBW in an effort to protect, promote and support breastfeeding on a global level. For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding visit www.breastpumpsdirect.com.