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Urgent care to fill void left by EKL closure

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BATON ROUGE - It won't be long until Earl K. Long Memorial is just a memory. Due to changes in the LSU Health System and budget cuts, the hospital is closing on April 15th.

To fill that void, Our Lady of the Lake will run an urgent care center a block away from Earl K. Long on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge.

"When we did the agreement, we made sure and than an urgent care facility was a part of that agreement," OLOL CEO Terrie Sterling said.

While the agreement is set in stone, the building is still under construction. There is enough space in the adjacent North Baton Rouge Clinic for a temporary center. In the meantime, many patients who would have gone to Earl K. Long will go there instead.

The urgent care center will open the same day Earl K. Long closes. LSU Health Systems expects the permanent urgent care center to be done sometime this summer.

"Yesterday in their (Earl K. Long) emergency, they saw about 80 patients," Sterling said.

The new urgent care center can see just as many patients as Earl K. Long did on an average day, but only those with lesser health needs, she said.

"Colds, flu symptoms, bumps and bruises, simple cuts, those things that often times need immediate attention after your primary care doctor is closed."

Patients in need of major care like a heart attack, stroke or even an open fracture should go to directly to the emergency room.

"Those are things that are traumatic," she said. "Certainly if you hit your head, if you experience dizziness, if you have a seizure and you faint, Those kinds of things if there is a loss of consciousness. Those are things that need to be seen in an emergency room."

Those who need ER care who would have gone to Earl K. Long will be sent to the nearest hospital that can meet their needs.



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