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North Baton Rouge emergency room meets yearly projections in six months

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BATON ROUGE- The North Baton Rouge Emergency Room, run as a public-private partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and the state, has met its yearly estimate of patients it projected to see in the first six months.

When the emergency room opened in November, officials said they expected to see between 10,000 - 15,000 people in a year. From that time until May 15, more than 14,400 patients checked in to the ER in the first six months. That averages to about 80 patients per day.

Relessia Howard's 7-month-old son was so sick today, she walked in to get him medical treatment.

"In cases of emergencies, just trying to get on the other side of town with traffic, depending on what it is, it's pretty hard," Howard said.

Staff at Our Lady of the Lake said they were somewhat surprised by the numbers, but knew there was a tremendous need in North Baton Rouge for an ER.

"Healthcare is local," Coletta Barrett said. "You want to do the best you can to have resources available for patients to access very quickly and easily. Being here for our community is very important."

There is concern though that if healthcare funding is not restored, the building may close.

"If healthcare is not funded, all of our public-private partnerships will be turned back over to the state," Barrett said. "That means this facility here, that means the urgent care center in Mid-city, our trauma program, would be in jeopardy. We wouldn't be able to sustain the trauma program."

Since November, less than 100 patients had to be transferred to other hospitals out of the 14,000. The opening of the ER in North Baton Rouge has reduced visits at the main campus by 15 percent, according to OLOL officials.

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