OLOL north Baton Rouge ER nearing completion as planned clinic project remains stalled

    Our Lady of the Lake is preparing for a November opening of its new emergency room in north Baton Rouge. The hospital is holding a job fair Wednesday for clinical and professional full- and part-time positions.

    The job fair comes nine months after hospital officials broke ground on the Our Lady of the Lake North Emergency Room at 5439 Airline Hwy., between North Foster and McClelland drives, filling a badly needed health care gap in north Baton Rouge. The area lost the Earl K. Long Charity Hospital emergency room in 2013 and the Baton Rouge General Hospital Mid City emergency room in early 2015.

    Though the 8,000-square-foot facility, adjacent to the LSU Health North Clinic and Urgent Care, will not be a trauma center like the OLOL emergency department at its main hospital on Essen Lane, it will be able to treat all but the most severe cases, like stroke and gunshot victims.

    OLOL officials cannot say for certain when in November the facility will open, but add it is on schedule and on budget.

    Another much anticipated OLOL project, however, remains stalled, after Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed funding for it earlier this year. OLOL officials say they have no new information on potential plans for their proposed primary and urgent care clinic at 6815 Florida Blvd., between North Donmoor and Ardenwood, saying they will continue working with elected officials in hopes of eventually securing the necessary state funds to make it a reality.

    The proposed 43,000-square-foot clinic would be located on the site of the former Brian Harris Jeep dealership, which OLOL acquired in Jan. 2016 for $750,000, and would replace the existing LSU Health Baton Rouge Mid City Clinic at 1401 N. Foster Dr. It would include new state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and is more easily accessible from the CATS bus line.

    But Edwards vetoed the project from the state’s construction budget, which had allocated $10 million for construction on the clinic, because the state didn’t have enough money to pay for it. OLOL had planned to match the allocation with $6 million of its own money.

    “We remain committed to working with the governor and the Legislature to make this project a reality,” Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center CEO Scott Wester says. “We are grateful for our Capital Region delegation and their continued support of the Florida Boulevard clinic and caring for those most in need in the north Baton Rouge community.

    —Stephanie Riegel

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