Riverland studies feasibility under way

Published 12:04 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

FERRIDAY — Riverland Medical Center’s board of trustees will meet this week to discuss ideas they want to share with the consultants completing a feasibility study for the hospital’s future.

Board Chairman Jim Graves said the board met this week with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Louisiana Municipal Hospital Association and the Stroudwater group to get an update on the feasibility study it commissioned in March.

Stroudwater’s role has been to conduct a health care market study.

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Graves said at the meeting Tuesday, the consultants asked for additional information, including how many people from surrounding parishes and counties are admitted to the emergency room and to the hospital. They also asked about physician recruiting.

“We are at the turning point of it,” Graves said.

The consultants gave the board some points to consider for the future

The final Stroudwater report should be given to the board in July, he said.

If the Stroudwater study recommends renovating or replacing Riverland’s facility, the board has commissioned Elde Bailly, a second firm, to write an examination opinion about it the proposal.

Representatives from the USDA were present because — if the hospital decides to renovate or build a new facility — the project will need financing, which would be done through USDA’s rural development wing. Discussion of seeking a feasibility study that might ultimately lead to renovations or replacement of the hospital began last August, when doctors approached the hospital administration about what could be done to improve it in the future.

The hospital had a feasibility report conducted by the LaPorte group of Metairie last year, but hospital officials said it was too vague and did not take into account the consolidation of the Natchez hospitals when looking at the local health care market.

RMC opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital. It is partially funded through a one-fourth-of-one-percent sales tax, which is expected to generate $660,000 annually.