As Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health and Children’s Hospital New Orleans celebrate the one-year anniversary of our partnership, together we have enhanced both access to and the quality of healthcare for children across Louisiana in year one — and we’re just getting started!
In 2023, through more than 850,000 patient encounters our two children’s hospitals cared for more than 200,000 unique children from across Louisiana, the Gulf South and beyond — the most ever in our histories.
Growth and Collaboration
Our ability to expand programs and to improve access happens thanks to the dedication and hard work of our teams. We know that we cannot expand care for kids without growth of our staff and providers, and 2023 was a banner recruitment year for our organizations. In a time when others in our state are scaling back, together we added more than 400 new pediatric team members to advance our important work of caring for all children. This expanded capacity means more access and more expertise than ever before.
We’ve also brought critical healthcare resources closer to home through joint recruitment of providers in key pediatric specialties, including cardiology, neurology, otolaryngology, nephrology, gastroenterology and other sub-specialties. In 2023, we collectively recruited more than 40 pediatric providers across 19 specialties to bolster what is already the Gulf South’s most robust panel of pediatric experts.
By leveraging the strengths of our adolescent mental and behavioral health teams, kids struggling with acute mental health crises can now be connected to care more quickly, significantly decreasing the time children in crisis are holding in emergency rooms before being placed for therapeutic treatment. In 2023, Our Lady of the Lake’s Tau Center cared for hundreds of adolescents, and we were able to prioritize access for more than 400 other patients from Baton Rouge to the comprehensive Behavioral Health Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans to access the specialized care and support they needed during their time of crisis.
Our Partnership Provides Expert Care Close to Home
There are many inspiring success stories that exemplify the power of our teamwork and shared expertise. It has been powerful to see the coordination of care for complex cases taking place between providers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Since our partnership began, the collaboration between our physicians is more seamless, and we have worked together to determine the best possible care plans for patient families, close to home.
Two patient examples showcase how our collaboration is helping families.
The first patient saw an ear, nose and throat physician with Children’s Hospital New Orleans at a clinic in Baton Rouge. The patient, a child with cerebral palsy, had a drooling disorder and required surgery to significantly improve her quality of life.
Rather than sending the patient for treatment in New Orleans, the provider referred the family to Lauren Buck, MD, Board Certified pediatric otolaryngologist and surgeon with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health. Dr. Buck was able to complete the surgery successfully much closer to home, which was a relief to the family and eased the patient’s recovery.
Another patient saw Dr. Buck for airway difficulty, recurrent bronchiolitis and noisy breathing. During the airway evaluation scope procedure at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, a congenital aortic vascular ring was discovered. Dr. Buck and her team uncovered the broader cardiac issue and were able to seamlessly transfer the patient to Children’s Hospital New Orleans for successful surgery to repair the double aortic arch.
This is what the power of our collaboration is all about. Bringing expert care closer to home.
Setting a Precedent for Pediatric Care in Louisiana
This first year of partnership has not only brought specialized pediatric care closer to home for families, but it’s also setting a precedent for enhanced coordination, shared expertise, and innovative solutions for the healthcare landscape in Louisiana. As the collaboration continues to evolve, the future holds even more promise for the well-being of our state’s most precious resource — our children.
We also celebrated several achievements that are expanding vital health services for some of our state’s most vulnerable pediatric populations.
In Baton Rouge and New Orleans, we now operate two verified Level II pediatric trauma centers that are a vital resource for over 30,000 square miles of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
Together in 2023, we also expanded school-based healthcare services in Orleans, Ascension, East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish public, charter and parochial schools to keep kids well and in school through Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ ThriveKids program, and Our Lady of the Lake’s Healthy Ascension and Health Care Centers in Schools programs.
In Baton Rouge, with the support of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation we’re expanding advanced imaging capabilities with the addition of a 3.0T MRI and our perioperative capacity to accommodate continued surgical and procedural growth. We’ll also open the Hogs for the Cause Family Support Home on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital to better support families who come to Baton Rouge from across the region for care.
As we look ahead to 2024, we’ll further extend our reach through new pediatric specialty clinics that we recently opened on the North Oaks Medical Center campus in Hammond, the Rapides Medical Center campus in Alexandria and expansion of pediatric therapy services at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington. In New Orleans, there are also plans to expand child abuse and forensic medicine programs whose reach extends into Baton Rouge. We also plan to grow the pediatric bone marrow transplant program in New Orleans, the only FACT-accredited pediatric program in Louisiana.
As our collaboration continues to advance, the future of Louisiana Children’s Health is bright!