$40M expansion project underway at community hospital

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Construction on a $40 million project to expand and improve health care services in Allen Parish is moving right along at the Allen Parish Community Healthcare Hospital.

Work has begun on the hospital’s 10-acre site just west of Kinder for a new 27,541-square-foot surgical care facility. The facility will include two operating rooms, surgery suites and a GI suite for general surgeries, according to Marketing Director and Community Liaison Kimberly Caldarera.

The project will also include increasing the size of the emergency room department to include a trauma room, x-ray imaging, women’s health, radiology with a new lobby and entryway.

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The project is expected to be completed by early 2024.

“I think this is a blessing and I think it’s very progressive for a rural community to have this,” Caldarera said of the project. “What we are striving for is population health and preventive care instead of sick care.”

The existing hospital is 53-years-old and no longer meeting the growing healthcare needs of the community, she said.

Caldarera said the patient load at the hospital has been continually increasing, despite ongoing construction.

“We will be able to offer more services for the community with more education on healthy living for a sustainable community,” Caldarera said of plans for the new hospital.

The community is invited to tour the new hospital construction site and new rural health clinic, noon-1 p.m. Monday, May 8 during National Hospital Week.

A portion of the existing hospital will be demolished to make room for a new kitchen and construction of a new inpatient wing.

“It is very exciting to be happening here and to know you can have health care here,” Administrator Jacqueline Reviel said in a press release. “Health care is changing so fast that in the next five years we will be able to bring every specialty here via telemedicine and probably something more inventive than that in the next five years.

“With some cool technology, you will be able to see your cardiologist, ENT doctor, etc. right here and if you have to go off for a procedure you will be able to come back and get your care here. It will save you gas and time away from your family and job.”

The hospital officially opened its new $6.2 million, 13,503-square-foot rural health clinic in January. The clinic is located adjacent to the current hospital.

The clinic features 17 exam rooms, including a Kidded exam room and a procedure room. It also houses six physicians and three nurse practitioners. Administration offices, including medical record and the business office, are also located in the rural health clinic.

A cardiologist visits the clinic weekly and assistance with medications is available to clients three times a week through the Cenla Medication Access Program (CMAP). Brown’s Hearing Center also provides services by appointments.

The final project for the hospital calls for expansion of behavioral health services with the construction of a 8,500-square-foot behavioral health unit. It will include 24 beds, a dining room, physical therapy, occupational therapy and group therapy.

Future plans include adding an outpatient dialysis unit.