Welcome to our celebration!

Today we gather together to recognize 50 years of providing our community access to quality healthcare services close to the patient’s home. Just as our mascot, the Whooping Crane, symbolizes perseverance to survive and thrive in its home environment, today, we celebrate a record of caring and nurturing service for all members of our service area – an area rich in history, a people resilient to the many life struggles directed our way, and a population with unique health care needs which we are here to serve.

In 1962, a group of health care visionaries led by Robert Broussard, Robert C. Hollier, Leopold Noel Jr, Charles E. Trahan, Sulie Broussard, and James Segura Jr. created a structure by which a mission of programs organized through bricks and mortar was established in Feb 1966 to deliver primary medical care service to the citizens of Hospital Service District #2. Leading the Medical Staff was the first Chief of Staff, Dr. Perry Sudduth. Lois Gaspard Sellers and Bert Carlson had pioneer roles in the areas of nursing and health care administration. Always an advocate for an improved health care system , Dr. Ardly Hebert shared a rich history with Abbeville General. We applaud these early leaders represented by their families today, who recognized the importance of a health care delivery system which works best when that healthcare is delivered close to the patients’ home. Not only do patients heal best when they are home, but skilled health care workers perform best when “nearer to home” is part of the structure of their work day.

We celebrate 50 years of success with recognition of a most recent history of achieving high quality performance marks on measures established by regulators and insurers who guide and direct patients to centers of excellence. Abbeville General is included in that elite group with designation for two consecutive years as a “Top Performer” by the Joint Commission which accredits and regulates hospitals. Our commitment to patient safety is evident in the way we care for patients and the related positive outcomes of care. As a result, we have garnered “A” grades by Patient Safety Advocates and insurers.

Notable past accomplishments are valued as “patient centric” as we exist to meet the needs of the community. The services we offer are designed to address healthcare disparities identified through a comprehensive community – wide patient health care needs assessment. In addition to the basic primary care services of obstetrics, gynecology, medical, surgical, and pediatrics, the hospital over the past decade has initiated new service lines which include psychiatric, infusion therapy, pain management, chemotherapy, sleep diagnostics, cardiology, and other valuable outpatient services.

In 2008, the current hospital board recognized that the ever changing health care delivery system of the future would dictate that if the community desired a local health care delivery model, then it must participate in assuring the building, equipment and maintenance needs of its 1966 building investment are met. By way of a near 70% YES vote representing a mandate of the people of this district, a sales tax was created which has clearly improved the ability of highly skilled professionals to properly diagnose and treat the health care problems of our community in state-of-the-art facilities utilizing highly technical equipment.

• Since 2008, the hospital has acquired $18.5 million in state of the art equipment and building improvements which is evident by a tour of our service areas.

• Making local access to specialized care possible, the use of telemedicine in the patient care process at Abbeville General is able to provide ” just in time” consultation from remotely located physician specialists.

• The entire local health care community is proud of our ability to address the emergency needs of the service area as a result of the construction of a $3.6 million state-of-the-art ER care space. Worthy of note is the ER Renovation and Expansion project being completely paid for as the 8,500 square foot building construction was completed.

• In addition, to fulfill its mission of access to care close to home, a system of Rural Health Clinics has been built throughout the district with clinics in Maurice, Erath and Abbeville. New construction of the $1.7 Million Erath – Delcambre clinic will begin this year with completion in March 2017.

• Also, the hospital is fortunate to have acquired an emergency preparedness grant of $3.4 million which will help with the construction costs of a 16-bed Behavioral Medicine Center fortified to withstand hurricane force winds. The $6.6 million center will dub as a safe room for emergency responders who will occupy the building during times of natural disaster. The public bid process for the behavioral medicine center project will be initiated in the next few months with construction projected to be completed for the multi – purpose building in November 2017.

• To assure continued patient care service in the eye of a hurricane, in October 2010, the federal government paid for a new roof and mitigated windows of the main hospital structure which should serve to protect the community’s assets for decades to come.

In the strategic mapping process which charts our future, the hospital board has identified that the central challenge of our hospital is: to remain competitive in an ever changing health care delivery landscape. Specific strategic priorities are focused to assure continued viability and relevance of this hospital service district.

By nature of the health care delivery model dictated by the Affordable Care Act, the hospital board has established a framework guided by operating principles by which we evaluate clinical affiliation arrangements with larger, more comprehensive health care delivery systems. As we serve as a basic building block for the medical home model required in the Affordable Care Act, we then become attractive to most delivery systems as we are in a position “to refer patients” from our medical home to more complicated, specialized care sites. Our most significant measurement of the best system with which we should affiliate is for the larger health care system in partnership ” to return the patient back to our medical home” for future care and management. Our current clinical affiliations with Lafayette facilities which provide localized care for patients with cancer and heart problems here at Abbeville General are working models of this principle.

Over a 50 year period, this parish has produced outstanding health care workers as a result of a local, superior educational system. Stimulating the local economy is a payroll of $20.5 million with 80% of the employee group residing in the parish. That percentage does not account for the many people who are independent contractors living in our community with their livelihood based at Abbeville General. Our management is composed of residents who were born, and raised here, and educated in Vermilion parish schools. It is a pleasure for them to serve our community who are frequently family and friends.

Serving as an economic engine for Vermilion parish, the $44 million budget of our local rural health care system which you know as Abbeville General, has a significant role as a business stimulus in all of the communities we serve. As we grow, so does the community in which we operate.

Again, we feel honored that you have chosen to be present today as you help us to recognize this momentous milestone in our history. You have our pledge to do all that is possible to take Abbeville General to new, higher, and as yet still undisclosed heights, in service quality, patient satisfaction, value and clinical performance. As we look toward the next fifty years, it is our continuing commitment to you of our role in assuring your access to quality health care services close to your home. With our mascot Whooping Crane serving as a symbol and an inspiration to us all, leading the way with a mission to survive and thrive, it is our promise to you to be here when you need us most. Thank you for your patient loyalty, your interest in our mission of providing access to quality health care programs and services close to your home, and lastly for your kind attendance today. I hope you enjoy the remaining festivities. Thank you.