BATON ROUGE - Wednesday on the steps of the Capitol, community leaders say they'll speak out against the planned closure of Baton Rouge General's Mid City emergency room. In less than two months, the ER will shut down and leave local health care in the hands of outpatient clinics.
"I think it's absolutely a deplorable decision," said Father Richard Andrus, the pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Mid City. "If you're having a stroke, you can't get the kind of care you need at an urgent care clinic," added Andrus.
Government officials, like State Treasurer John Kennedy, have long pointed out that emergency rooms across the state are regularly used for non-emergency health care, often at the expense of taxpayers. Proponents of outpatient clinics say the clinics can provide same level of general health care but at a lower cost.
When the Earl K. Long charity hospital closed its doors nearly two years ago in North Baton Rouge, the nearby Urgent Care Center started meeting the health care needs of residents. The clinic operates on a 24-hour basis and can treat many non-emergency ailments.
"I see immediate and swift care here, and there are many resources to access your situation," said patient Ronnie Bluford.
Community leaders speaking out against the closure of the Mid City ER say they support the outpatient clinics, but they still believe an emergency room is necessary. "I think urgent care centers take the stress off of emergency rooms," said Andrus, "but we absolutely need emergency room care in this neighborhood."