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SLCC working on home health best practices project

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Posted at 10:50 AM, May 12, 2020

South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) is partnering with one of the largest home healthcare organizations in the United States to create a national best practice model for home health education.

The college, LHC Group, and the Myers Family Foundation are partnering on a five-year project called “A Legacy of Caring in the Home and Community.” The $2.5 million funding behind the project is historic in itself, and represents the largest private investment in a community college in Louisiana.

“This project is especially timely with the focus on healthcare through the existing COVID-19 pandemic. Knowledgeable, well-rounded healthcare graduates who can work in the home, clinics, and hospitals are needed now more than ever,” said Dr. Natalie J. Harder, SLCC’s chancellor.

This project grew from LHC Group and SLCC’s existing partnership since 2016. Last year, the two organizations collaborated to develop a Home Health Training Lab at SLCC’s main campus in Lafayette. This training lab is the first known of its kind in the nation.

The creation of additional Home Health Labs across SLCC’s rural campuses will anchor the “Legacy” project. These labs will provide hands-on training and skills for healthcare students in Acadiana’s remote areas.

In addition, this project will help to create a new workforce for a growing subset of the healthcare industry. By 2021, more than 350 SLCC students will be trained in the home health labs.

Over the course of the project, SLCC will create a large-scale scholarship program for healthcare students, drive the implementation of a home health credential, bring health training opportunities to SLCC’s healthcare faculty, offer continuing education in home health, and establish endowed professorships to support the recruitment and retention of exemplary nursing faculty. Lastly, the project will create the state’s first community college endowed chair, which will focus its activities on nursing and home health.

"It is a national example of what we can create together when we focus our resources and our talent to make for a stronger healthcare system for the state of Louisiana," said Dr. Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

LHC Group is a home healthcare provider based in Lafayette, and its operations employ more than 32,000 employees and its footprint spans 35 states and the District of Columbia.

“The fact that LHC Group and the Myers Family Foundation chose SLCC among hundreds of other colleges and universities in its service area is humbling,” said Dr. Rebecca Harris-Smith, SLCC’s dean of Nursing and Allied Health. “Our faculty are some of the best in the nation, and many of us worked in home health so this project is especially close to our hearts.”

“Now more than ever, patients, families, physicians and health systems alike realize care received in the home is among the most important in the healthcare continuum, and older Americans increasingly are choosing to receive care in the comfort of home,” said Keith. Myers, LHC Group’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to expand our partnership with an exemplary and innovative system like SLCC to build greater understanding about in-home healthcare and help prepare the next generation of clinicians and caregivers.. There’s no substitute for hands-on training where students can learn the specialized skills needed to provide quality in-home care.”

“As we focus on a national model for home healthcare, we know that we will do great things because you’ve helped us,” said Dr. Kim Hunter-Reed, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education about partners LHC Group and Myers Family Foundation. “Thank you for your generosity and for supporting our students in our state. We are grateful.”