BR General focused on patients, staff ahead of ER closure
BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge General Hospital is focused on patients and staff, as the closing of the Mid City Emergency Room approaches. To make the transition as effective as possible for patients and employees, they have expanded their Bluebonnet ER, added jobs and beds and sent information to area residents detailing their options to ensure no patient is left without care.
"We're committed to maintaining the high level of healthcare quality for which our hospitals are known, and we're equally committed to offering the award-winning customer service our patients and community expect of the General," said BRG Chief Executive Officer Mark Slyter, FACHE. "Though this transition is the largest operational change our organization has undertaken in many years, it does not change our mission and commitment to Mid City, or the pride we take in serving as Baton Rouge's first and trusted hospital."
Officials say they are unsure how many jobs will be affected, but are working to keep as many employees as possible, adding 150 clinical positions to their Bluebonnet location ahead of anticipated volume increases.
"We are working to preserve as many jobs as possible either through transfer and reassignment opportunities within the system, or assistance with placement among other area employers - our goal is that no one misses a paycheck," Paul C. Douglas, BRG Vice President for Human Resources & Development said in a statement. "In fact, we are continuing to recruit nurses and other patient care staff as part of the expansion at our Bluebonnet campus."
Despite closure preparations, community leaders say the General is not doing enough. The group Together BR held a press conference Thursday to ask Our Lady of the Lake, BRG, and the Department of Health and Hospitals for action to address the health needs of the community.
"They're adding staff, they're adding hours, which is helpful but it doesn't solve the real problem," said Lee Wesley, Together Baton Rouge, "if you have a true emergency, you need to go to an emergency center where the doctors and nurses can handle that emergency."
Clergy, community leaders and concerned citizens were in attendance, gathering at noon Thursday outside OLOL Hospital, located in the 7700 block of Hennessy Blvd.
The group "The Louisiana Democracy Project" also planned to protest the ER closure. It was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Baton Rouge General Mid City on Florida Boulevard.
Emergency services will be shut down at Baton Rouge General starting March 31.