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A Catholic hospital comes to Bogalusa, archdiocese

The irony is not lost on Archbishop Gregory Aymond. For more than 160 years – from the time the Daughters of Charity assumed control of New Orleans Charity Hospital in 1834 – the Archdiocese of New Orleans was home to at least one Catholic hospital.
But by the 1990s, the economics of the health care industry had changed. Hotel Dieu, operated by the Daughters of Charity, was purchased in 1991 by LSU and became University Hospital, a teaching hospital for medical students.

Then in 1995, Mercy + Baptist Hospital – the last Catholic hospital in the archdiocese – was sold to Tenet Healthcare.

Now, for the first time in 19 years, the archdiocese will have a Catholic hospital – Our Lady of the Angels Hospital – in Bogalusa. The hospital is located close to Annunciation Catholic Church and School.

Experience around the state
The former LSU Bogalusa Medical Center will be run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS), which operates Catholic hospitals in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Lafayette and Monroe. The state previously had announced it would no longer operate the hospital and was seeking a partner to sponsor it.

“I’m very excited,” said Archbishop Aymond, who will bless the 98-bed hospital on March 17 at 10 a.m. “I have a great affinity for Catholic hospitals. I think it’s a very important and special ministry of the Catholic Church. My hope is that we can have more.”

Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans operates four neighborhood health care centers in New Orleans – the largest is the uptown center at 3201 S. Carrollton Ave. – and Sisters of Mercy Ministries has centers that offer psychological and psychiatric evaluation, counseling and educational support for children and families.

On Jan. 28, FMOLHS signed an agreement with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and LSU Health Care Services to manage the Bogalusa hospital. Jon Hirsch, director of marketing for St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, said Our Lady of the Angels will serve Washington Parish and surrounding areas.

Underserved community
A major reason FMOLHS was interested in the Bogalusa hospital was to ensure that a rural community would continue to have quality health care, Hirsch said.

“The mission of the sisters is to care for those most in need,” Hirsch said. “The hospital serves the population of Bogalusa and Washington Parish and surrounding areas, which is a very medically underserved community.”

Our Lady of the Angels will provide emergency room services, which are now being expanded, as well as acute inpatient care and surgical services; obstetrical and gynecological care; pediatrics; gastroenterology; podiatry; ear, nose and throat; cardiology and urology. The hospital also operates an 18-bed acute, inpatient psychiatric unit and an infectious disease clinic.

Under the agreement, a rural track of the LSU Family Medicine residency program will continue for medical students interested in serving in less-populated areas. Graduate medical education residency programs also are offered at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, which is run by FMOLHS in Baton Rouge.

“(LSU) Bogalusa (Medical Center) was looking for someone to take them on, and they approached us to see if we would be willing to do that,” Hirsch said.

The hospital has a staff of 500 employees. The president and CEO is Kurt Scott.

In addition to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, FMOLHS operates St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales.

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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