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Baton Rouge General's Mid City ER reopens Monday morning

2 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Monday, June 15 2020 Jun 15, 2020 June 15, 2020 4:37 AM June 15, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press

BATON ROUGE — As part of Louisiana's coronavirus pandemic surge program, a hospital emergency room that was closed for five years is reopening.

Baton Rouge General Hospital says in a news release that its Mid-City hospital's 33-bed ER will be open for all sorts of emergencies beginning Monday, June 15.

WBRZ's Nadeen Abusada was on site for the official reopening, which took place shortly before 7 a.m.

The emergency department is reopening under a contract with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, which opened other unused areas earlier for acute care of patients with COVID-19.

"We will continue to offer acute care and keep the ER open as long as we have the support of the state," said Edgardo Tenreiro, the hospital's president and CEO.

The contract signed March 30 will keep the facility open for at least the six months, with the possibility of an 18-month extension, The Advocate reported.

Patients will be screened upon entry for symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and will be directed to one of two waiting rooms. The two groups will use separate entrances to the emergency department treated by separate teams.

The Mid City ER closed in March 2015 and critical care was shifted to another Baton Rouge General Hospital. The hospital had never closed entirely but concentrated on such areas as cancer care, rehabilitation, behavioral health, outpatient surgery, and family medicine.

When the emergency room shut down in 2015, 36% of its patients were uninsured and it was losing nearly $2 million a month, The Advocate reported.

The city's uninsured population fell from 13.2% in 2014 to 7.4% in 2018, two years after Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

In addition to this, Tenreiro said, Medicaid payments to health care providers have increased.

The emergency room was scheduled to open earlier, but administrators had a hard time getting equipment for the unit because of pandemic supply-chain tie-ups, Tenreiro told the newspaper.

Louisiana has had more than 46,000 cases of the coronavirus and about 2,900 deaths from it, according to the state Health Department.

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