Riverland operation of health unit makes sense

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Concordia Parish residents could benefit if Riverland Medical Center takes over operations of the Ferriday office of the Concordia Parish Health Unit.

Riverland officials confirmed this week they are in early negotiations with Department of Health and Hospitals, which operates the Ferriday health unit.

If Riverland and DHH can come to terms –&160;and ultimately if the Riverland board approves the arrangements — the hospital would contract with DHH to provide the necessary services at the health unit. Those services range from immunizations to child health screenings to offering food vouchers under the Women, Infants and Children program. And according to figures — the unit averages about 2,650 visits per year — the services are vital to the parish.

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It makes sense for DHH to leave the operation of the center to Riverland, whose expertise could be put to use in operating the facility. And, with DHH’s plan to shut down 25 health units across the state — including the Vidalia unit — because of a lack of utilization and necessary budget cuts, the joint operating move could prove a lifesaver for the Ferriday health unit.

By contracting with the public hospital, DHH eliminates its expense of staffing the unit, as well as providing services. Riverland, with its already established staffing, could easily expand or adapt to meet the need needs.

More important, the move could provide another opportunity for Riverland to grow … which is necessary in today’s changing health care climate.

The move could be a proverbial &uot;win-win&uot; for the parish and DHH. More important, it would benefit parish residents who use the services of both the health unit and Riverland.