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Ochsner Lafayette General to partner with agency to open behavior health clinic in Acadiana in 2024

The Advocate - 11/18/2022

Nov. 17—Ochsner Lafayette General will partner with a national behavioral health agency to open a 120-bed hospital in Acadiana in late 2024.

Ochsner will partner with Oceans Healthcare on the project at a site that has not been determined but will operate as Ochsner Behavioral Health Acadiana and become the largest behavioral health center in the region.

It will offer inpatient services for adolescents, adults, geriatric patients and outpatient services, officials announced Thursday morning. It fill a need for compassionate, comprehensive care for those experiencing mental health issues and co-occurring substance use disorders.

Both agencies will invest approximately $30 million in the expansion.

"Despite the growing number of people experiencing mental illness, Louisianians — and so many across the country — still struggle to access care," Oceans Healthcare CEO Stuart Archer said. "This new hospital is the next step in our partnership with Ochsner and its acute care providers to bring important mental health services that, for many, have been out of reach. We've proven our joint venture model works to provide best practice operations, reduce strain on emergency services and reduce overall costs."

The partnership will be similar to this partnership to what the Oceans Healthcare and Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport created in 2021 with Louisiana Behavioral Health in Shreveport.

Each parish that comprises the Acadiana region is a designated mental health professional shortage area, Ochsner officials said, which means the region lacks the necessary number of mental health providers. In 2021, almost half of adults in Louisiana reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, and more than 18% were unable to access necessary counseling or therapy, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

"Access to behavioral health care remains a scarcity for so many, and Louisiana is one of the most affected states," Ochsner Lafayette General CEO Patrick Gandy Jr. said. "Ochsner Lafayette General remains steadfast in our commitment to increase accessibility and expand vital services. Oceans Healthcare is a trusted, qualified provider and by leveraging their expertise, we are better positioned to support the growing need for mental health services in our community."

Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center's Level II Trauma Center is the busiest emergency department in Acadiana, which often results in treating behavioral health patients in a setting less conducive to their needs. Partnerships like this, Ochsner officials noted, between acute care hospitals and specialized mental health providers will increase access, and the collaboration will lead to decreased emergency department use, increased quality and safety and a lower overall cost of care.


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