Ochsner Medical Center Celebrates Expansions
Ochsner Medical Center improves and grows patient services with several noteworthy additions
Already an anchor in the Jefferson Parish community as a healthcare provider and employer, Ochsner Medical Center continued its growth in 2018 by expanding its West Campus and opening the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development.
Plans for the Boh Center started in 2016, and the first phase of the center, which includes clinic space and a gym, opened in September 2018. Rob Wolterman, CEO of Ochsner Medical Center, estimated that the second phase, an expansion of the clinic and gym spaces, will be completed in mid to late 2019.
“The whole premise was to create something that wasn’t available in the entire region,” Wolterman said.
Historically, parents of children with developmental difficulties have had to take their children to various locations to receive the proper care. The Boh Center provides the many aspects of necessary care — physicians, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and more — all under one roof. There is also a healing garden, which is an outdoor space where children can learn to travel along different gradients and experience different surfaces.
During the planning process, Ochsner consulted with a parents’ advisory board. This board included Robert Boh, president of Boh Brothers Construction, and his wife, Ann. The Boh family made a sizable contribution to the center in honor of their deceased son, Michael, who was developmentally disabled. Members of the Ochsner team also traveled to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, one of the leading facilities in the country for disabled children, to gain knowledge about the proper tools and techniques to offer to patients in the Boh Center.
“The input from the families on the advisory board and the knowledge gained from the Kennedy Krieger Institute comprised 70-90 percent of the design and implementation of the final project,” Wolterman said.
One main idea gathered from the groups included a covered drop-off area for patients. Since many of these children struggle with physical movement, getting them in and out of cars can be a hassle — especially if it’s raining outside — so a covered area was built into the design of the building to make arrival and departure more comfortable for patients.
In addition to the Boh Center, Ocshner also opened the expansion to its West Campus in March 2018. The expansion includes a new building with a skilled nursing facility, a long-term acute care hospital and an in-patient physical rehabilitation unit. In 2014, Wolterman said Ochsner administration realized the hospital’s patient load was increasing and more room would be necessary to provide the best care possible, which ultimately led to this expansion four years later.
The West Campus also houses Ochsner’s new nursing school campus with Chamberlain University College of Nursing, which began classes in April 2018. The school has several classrooms designed to look like real hospital rooms, with medical mannequins that simulate the vital signs of a real patient.
In addition, Ochsner expanded its West Tower, adding six additional floors to treat critical care patients. Three of these floors have already opened, with the additional three likely to open in 2020, according to Wolterman.
Wolterman said Ochsner’s exciting additions will benefit the Jefferson Parish community in many ways. When all phases are complete, he expects 1,000 new jobs will be created in Jefferson Parish. He also expects new businesses to move to Jefferson Highway and has already been approached by companies looking to enter the area.
“We’ve created a true healthcare destination,” Wolterman said.
Beth Walker, Chief Operating Officer for Ochsner Health System, will be the 2020 Chairwoman for the Jefferson Chamber. She feels Ochsner’s new expansions coincide with the Jefferson Chamber’s mission to make Jefferson Parish a better place for people to live and work.
“Ochsner is thrilled to make ongoing investments along the Jefferson Highway corridor for the advancement of the community,” Walker said. “Through these commitments and more, we hope Jefferson Parish will continue to be the chosen place for residents and businesses to call home, and for patients from all over the region to visit, trusting in us as we work to change and save lives.”