Final details for new Riverland hospital in Ferriday under way

Published 12:10 am Thursday, March 9, 2017


FERRIDAY — The Riverland Medical Center Board of Commissioners is working to finalize details of a new hospital.

Hospital board chair Jim Graves said he hopes to have a proposal for the Concordia Parish Police Jury — which owns the hospital — by summer, and should jurors approve the plan, construction could begin four to five months after their approval.Graves said the hospital commission has recently gone through two revisions with the site plans and is waiting on the final version from architects.

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“We have visited four other hospitals under construction and brought ideas back and talked about them,” Graves said. “We hope to have the final plans back in the next month or so.”

The estimated price tag for the hospital — which is proposed to be located on the Ferriday-Vidalia U.S. 84 highway near the Camelot Nursing Home — is approximately $35 million.

However, being a critical care hospital with 25 beds, Graves said the parish could end up ultimately not being out any money because of the structure of the United States Department of Agriculture Loan.

Graves said though the hospital would have to repay such a loan, the USDA would reimburse at the end of the year at a rate of 101 percent. For example, Graves said if $1 million was paid during the year, the hospital would be reimbursed $1,010,000.

At least one police juror, Joe Parker, has publically expressed concerns about moving the hospital from its Ferriday location considering the parish already owns approximately 35 acres of land near the current location of the hospital.

Parker could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Graves said the hospital board has to have approval from the police jury to seek funding to build the hospital.

Graves has said in the past obtaining the USDA loan could be difficult if the jury elects to go against study recommendations, which states the location between Ferriday and Vidalia provides the hospital with its best chance to succeed.

Discussions of a new hospital facility — or at least making significant renovations to the current Riverland facility — began in August 2014 when doctors approached the hospital administration about what could be done to improve the hospital in the future.

After hospital officials said a first feasibility report was too vague, another firm Stroudwater Associates was hired to provide a second study, which was publicly discussed with the police jury in 2016.

Among Stroudwater’s findings were that 44 percent of Concordia Parish residents used the hospital in some capacity within the last year and 85 percent of those polled said they wanted a new hospital.

Riverland Medical Center opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital.