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Apr 1, 2010 3:32 PM by Letitia Walker

LGMC To Close Mental Health Unit

LGMC Press Release: Lafayette General Medical Center's inpatient census increased tremendously in 2009, creating both challenges, and opportunities for hospital growth. The increased patient volume has created a need for bed space for medical-surgical (med-surg) and intensive care unit (ICU) patients; the hospital is, on average, operating at over 90 percent capacity in our med-surg unit and ICU.

Though the $70 million facility renovation project will add an additional 12 ICU beds and 15 med/surg beds, the increased capacity still falls short of hospital needs. For this reason, the Board of Trustees and hospital administration has decided to cease operation of the inpatient Mental Health Unit, as of May 1, and convert those beds to med-surg. The new 24-bed med/surg unit, currently slated to open by the end of October 2010, will be located on the 9th floor, West Tower. Upon completion of the total renovation of Lafayette General, the new bed capacity will be 409 beds.

"We certainly welcome the increased numbers of patients, and we are appreciative of the trust our community has put in our medical care," said David Callecod, FACHE, president and CEO. "However, Lafayette General was at a crossroads, with a difficult decision to face. Caring for such high numbers of patients with limited bed space had the potential for affecting our quality of care. For example, when we reached 100 percent capacity, we either had to divert patients to other hospitals, or hold them in other units waiting for inpatient discharges. The latter is an unacceptable practice that needed to change."

Lafayette General will continue providing Mental Health services over the next 30 days, after which time patients will be directed to Acadia Vermilion whenever possible. Administration will work closely with physicians to ensure the closure of this service transitions smoothly, and is assisting Mental Health staff to identify other opportunities within the organization, wherever possible.

"I recognize how hard this is for the staff," said Callecod. "We are not letting anyone go who wishes to stay; there are plenty of opportunities in other units. For those employees who would prefer to continue in the field of mental health, we are working with Acadia Vermilion Behavioral Hospital to place them there."

"The difficult decision to turn our mental health beds to med-surg beds allows us to focus on our core inpatient business, address volume growth and continue to fulfill our mission," added Callecod.

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