When public policymakers, Louisiana’s leading health system and community stakeholders come together in a spirit of collaboration to address big challenges, good things happen for all. That was the outcome of a groundbreaking 2018 agreement that created a new, co-branded health system: Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. It is a model public-private partnership that benefits patients, physicians, medical students and the residents of Shreveport, Monroe and surrounding communities.
For years, northern Louisiana and its 850,000 residents have been challenged by physician shortages and inadequate access to care. Governor John Bel Edwards stepped forward to ask how Ochsner, as the state’s leading health system, could improve access to high-quality healthcare in the region. The result of those conversations was a winning partnership that allows Ochsner to work together with the state to improve healthcare services, enhance medical education and advance critical research.
Under the new structure, Ochsner has full management responsibility for the operations of our partner hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, clinics and the clinical activity of the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Physician Group. LSU continues to oversee the LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine, the School of Allied Health Professions and the School of Graduate Studies.
Several strategic priorities guide our work to better meet the healthcare needs of residents of North Louisiana. Together, we are committed to:
Improve current facilities, including operating rooms and intensive care units;
Implement technology improvements;
Develop initiatives to improve quality and outcomes, including launching a hospitalist program;
Improve access to care by adding more physicians and new locations that include an ambulatory care center, a diagnostic imaging center and urgent care clinics among other specialties;
Advance digital and telehealth capabilities; and
Emphasize community health and well-being by broadening our primary care network and by launching programs to empower patients to stay healthy while managing chronic disease.
“While the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport partnership is less than one year old, we’re already achieving tangible benefits for patients and the community at large,” says Pete November, Ochsner Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President of Digital Health and Corporate Services. The scheduling backlog has been reduced by 55%, so patients are able to make appointments with their clinicians more quickly. While clinic visits have increased, time in the waiting room has also decreased. And, importantly, 70 new physicians have come on board in key specialties like cardiology, surgery and orthopedics, as well as new primary care physicians to staff community practices.
The research and education component of this partnership is exciting as well. Our goal is to jointly grow our Medical and Graduate Medical Education programs to recruit top candidates and train more healthcare providers. Initiatives include expanding the LSU medical school in Shreveport from 126 to 150 students annually and increasing investments in new technology and clinical care training. Adding the 280 residents at LSU to more than 500 residents at Ochsner makes us the largest educator of physicians in the state.