New St. James Hospital open to the public today

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LUTCHER – It will be a special day today in St. James Parish, as the initial unveiling of the new St. James Hospital will happen with a public Open House from 1 to 4 p.m.

The original St. James Hospital was built over 50 years ago, in 1955, but today marks a new era in health care for the St. James Parish health care facility, with a preview of the new hospital, displaying improved  technology and improved care residents in the area will find.

The hospital will not be open for services to the public until April 15, but Director of Business Development Rachel Bechnel said the hospital is open for anyone to come get a sneak preview from 1 to 4 p.m. today. Tours will be given, and there will be refreshments and entertainment.

The hospital is featuring enhanced diagnostic capabilities that include two new digital radiology rooms, a 16-slice CT scanner, several new laboratory analyzers, a larger Operating Suite, larger Emergency Room, all private rooms, and a Physical Therapy gym.

Becnel said the new lab analyzer will allow “over 90 percent of tests to be done right here, giving us much faster diagnosis for our patients.”

But even with all the technological improvements, and larger, shinier rooms to work in, CEO MaryEllen Pratt said there is one thing that won’t change.

“We pledge to continuously challenge ourselves to become the best community hospital,” she said. And she noted that the hospital motto of “Large enough to serve, Small enough to care,” will never change.

Becnel said the hospital board considered refurbishing the old building, compared to building a new one, since the cost of the new facility was $20 million.

“But in the end we actually found that it was just about as expensive to try and fix up the old one,” she said. “So we felt like a new hospital would be wonderful, and right now we are very excited to have this happen since it has been a long time coming. The community really needs this and we’re very pleased to be able to bring it to them.”

Pratt said the hospital was designed to include comfort for their patients and families, but also bring in the best technology possible.

“All of our patient rooms are private, and our many waiting areas should make your family’s experience with us even more comfortable,” she said. “We designed our new hospital with our patients and their families in mind, but still striving to balance comfort with the most advanced technology we could have.”

The hospital will open for services to the public on Tuesday, April 15 at 8 a.m.