BATON ROUGE, La. — Baton Rouge General (BRG) is in the planning stages of building a new hospital in the Prairieville neighborhood of Baton Rouge. The facility will be known as BRG Ascension, named for the parish in which it will be located. Additionally, BRG will be planning the expansion of the critical care tower at its Bluebonnet campus in Baton Rouge at the same time. Both projects are intended to meet the growing needs of the Baton Rouge population, offering more convenient locations for health care as well as creating a more sustainable ER.
The planning for BRG Ascension began in 2016 with the purchase of land between Louisiana Highway 73 and Interstate 10 for $3.5 million. The budget for the rest of the project is $30 million and will be financed through a to-be-determined bond issue. The new hospital will have 60,000 square feet of space, which will include 10 inpatient beds, a lab, physician practices and offices, and a 14-bed emergency room. The new hospital will provide 24-7 health care to Ascension Parish residents who would likely otherwise drive to East Baton Rouge for care.
The 65,000-square-foot expansion of the Bluebonnet hospital will add four floors, a helipad, new operating-room space, decontamination facilities and amenities for families and visitors staying overnight. The budget for the expansion is $40 million, though the expansion is still 30 months away, with the Ascension property being BRG’s first priority.
BRG plans to apply the efficiency techniques it’s learned over the last eight years to the new Ascension hospital and create a layout that does not follow the design convention of most modern hospitals. The design will allow patients to self-register and immediately go to an exam room after arrival. While the design will require fewer front-desk staff, the goal is that patients will no longer wait in line to be seen.
“Traditionally, offices are centered around the efficiency of the physician,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, president and CEO at BRG in an interview with The Advocate. “What we are doing here is centering around what’s efficient for the patient without hurting the productivity of the physician.”
The plans for the Ascension hospital are “nontraditional” in the sense that they will be highly integrated; therefore, there won’t be interruptions in the transitions from one care setting to another, according to Tenreiro. “On the outpatient piece, we’re going to build primary care practices and offices without waiting rooms,” he added.
The new hospital is projected to open in 2019, with a groundbreaking expected in early 2018.