A day for the history books: Construction complete, ribbon cut on new St. Bernard Parish Hospital

Aug 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Top Story

Pictured holding the ribbon is Parish President Dave Peralta, District D Councilman Casey Hunnicutt, District 3 School Board member Darleen Asevedo, Hospital Service District Board Member Andrew Sercovich, Hospital Service District Treasurer Jim DiFatta, Hospital Service District Chairman Wayne Landry, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Jodie Lohfink, District C Councilman Ritchie Lewis, Chief of Staff for the Office of Community Development Stacy Bonnaffons, State Representative Ray Garofalo, and State Senator JP Morell.

After Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, Dr. Bryan Bartucci said he wouldn’t wear a white doctor’s coat until a hospital was built in St. Bernard Parish. At the July 31 ribbon cutting ceremony, Bartucci– a devout Catholic– was finally presented with a white coat by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

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After three years of planning and construction, the dust has finally settled and the new St. Bernard Parish Hospital was celebrated with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on July 31.

Before the big ribbon was cut, Hospital Service District Chairman Wayne Landry aptly compared the entire process of building the 113,000 sq. ft. hospital to delivering a baby:

“There’s a lot of kicking and screaming as you’re trying to get the baby delivered, and then you end up with a beautiful product and everyone forgets about the kicking and screaming,” Landry explained with a laugh.

Landry also took time to recognize the many individuals who have worked tirelessly, past and present, to see the project completed. He praised the 2005 – 2006 council and parish president for creating a Hospital Service District, which was the catalyst for the entire hospital project.

Landry also thanked immediate past council and Former Parish President Craig Taffaro for doing a lot of the “grunt work and heavy lifting as far as funding goes.”

The current entities of parish government including the council, parish president, school board and sheriff, were also commended for working together for the greater good seeing the hospital come to fruition.

Additionally, Landry thanked the citizens of St. Bernard Parish who voted for the ten-year the millage in 2010, which secured much of the funding needed for the startup of the hospital.

“Without the millage passing there would be no hospital,” Landry said frankly.

On the parish’s long road to recovery since Hurricane Katrina there have been a few bumps, said Hospital CEO Tim Burke, but the completion of the new hosptial paired with the its state-of-the-art schools and infrastructure, allow St. Bernard to close that painful chapter in its history and look forward to a bright future.

“This beacon of hope (SBPH) is the last piece of the puzzle we need to take that Katrina book, close it and move on,” said Burke.

Now that the physical construction process is over, the only big obstacle left to tackle is obtaining necessary licensing from the Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH) and the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, Landry said.

On September 5, The Joint Commission– a non-profit which accredits and certifies 19,000 healthcare facilities nationwide– will be coming to SBPH to officially accredit the hospital.

Until then, hospital officials are encouraging residents to be ambassadors of their new healthcare facility, by encouraging their employers or insurance providers to include the new hospital on their list of covered facilities.

With dramatic changes coming down the pipeline as a result of the Affordable Care Act and drastic Medicaid cuts, Landry says that it is very important for the profitability of the hospital that citizens use it to its fullest.

“We have the latest technology and a superbowl team of physicians to deliver the product,” said Landry. “Lets encourage our HMOs and other insurance plans to include the SBPH, so we have a fighting chance to overcome the obstacles that have come our way.”

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