Bogalusa hospital marking 1 year since ownership change next week

Published 8:42 am Friday, March 13, 2015

Although local officials are not necessarily making a big fuss about it, Bogalusa’s Our Lady of the Angels Hospital celebrates its one-year anniversary as an affiliate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System on March 17.

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital was previously known as LSU Bogalusa Medical Center, a division of LSU Health Care Services.

“It’s important we recognize this important milestone for the team members themselves,” Our Lady of the Angels Hospital CEO/President Rene Ragas said. “It’s an important milestone because it shows our commitment to the community because it’s important that we’re viewed as a good community partner.”

Ragas came to Our Lady as chief executive officer on May 29. The title of president was added on Dec. 22.

Previously, Ragas was vice president of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge since 1998. The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is the parent network of the Bogalusa hospital.

An 11:30 a.m. prayer service on March 17 is on tap for team members and guests. That will be followed by cake and punch. Provincial for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady North American Province Barbara Arcenaux will speak and show a video. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System CEO John J. Finan Jr. will thank team members via a filmed presentation.

“The anniversary is going to be very low key,” Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Marketing Director Jon Hirsch said. “Since we became Our Lady of the Angels, our goal has been to provide world-class care to the community members of Washington Parish. We’ve tried to provide better access to health care by expanding a number of physicians and specialists and by providing services we previously didn’t have.”

Hirsch said the facility will soon reopen its outpatient mental health services and has hired a new psychiatrist who begins in May and an orthopedic surgeon who will operate at Our Lady.

The hospital is currently undergoing an expansion project that will add 8,000 square feet. The emergency room will double in size. The admissions area and lobby are also being expanded.

“All that is part of trying to better service the community,” Hirsch said. “When we came in new, we tried to assess what was needed and where there were opportunities for what was needed. We’re continually working to provide the best customer service. It’s an ongoing process.”

Our Lady of the Angels has 175 physicians currently on staff.

“We’re providing services most small hospitals don’t, like OB/GYN, neurology, family medicine and other services,” Hirsch said. “We’re continuing to work with community members and staff to make it the best hospital we can. We recognize our responsibility to the community and want to make sure we’re fiscally responsible.”

Ragas said the facility is always open to gifted physicians.

“As we continue to grow our team, we look forward to recruiting new members to this community,” Ragas said.