Population growth in Ascension Parish means more options to health care – WAFB

GONZALES, La. (WAFB) – A $25 million Ochsner Clinic will be opening in Gonzales in hopes of providing more medical care to patients.
Between traffic and drainage, Ascension Parish leaders say they needed an update.
“Our infrastructure right now is going through growing pains roads, drainage facilities, things this sort,” explains Director of Planning and Development for Ascension Parish Jerome Fournier.
However, there is more to infrastructure than just drainage and roads, it also includes resources like medical care. “Hospital facilities are a part of infrastructure in general, absolutely. Hospitals give primary care, secondary care you know to patients. It has to accommodate the growth that is occurring,” adds Fournier.
For a while in Ascension Parish, folks had access to just a few options when it came to medical treatment, but as more people moved into the area more medical facilities opened their doors. “Even when I got here 20 years ago, you know crossing Bayou Manchac to go into Baton Rouge was a big thing for patients to have to go get care. Now we are 20 years later, traffic is worse, you know there are more people out here,” says Dr. William Baird who practices internal medicine with Ochsner.
Dr. Baird has been practicing in Ascension Parish for 20 years, but now he will spend more time in Gonzales at Ochsner’s new health care center.
“As the population has grown, it was also aged and so there are more health care problems. More issues to deal with,” adds Baird.
The design for the clinic will offer more to patients in the area, such as providing specialists and other health care services like MRIs and pain management.
“If a patient has to make a decision to say, ‘well, I could go to Baton Rouge to get this test done, this MRI for instance, but I got to talk to my daughter to see when they off of work because I don’t drive in Baton Rouge.’ That’s a delay in care,” explains Baird.
The Gonzales Ochsner Clinic and its 18 exam rooms are set to open on June 14th.
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