Our View: Local medical resources worthy of our words of praise

As a battle over healthcare and how it should be paid for continues at the national level, the Bayou Region continues to excel in availability of important options for its people, and praise for the dedication of administrators and employees of the area’s caring institutions and practices can never be over-stated.

The centerpiece of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s recent endeavors, the hospital’s Wellness Center, is a resource about which we can’t say enough.

A new hybrid operating room at Terrebonne General Medical Center offers special procedure options that will result in faster recovery times for patients.

One of its designers is getting some special recognition.

Design of the center’s second phase, which will include tennis and volleyball courts, a running track and other features, has begun, and the facilities could be open within the next year to year and a half. The $5 million project will be paid for from existing money so no debt will be assumed.

On a different scale and for different reasons, two employees of the Cardiovascular Institute of the South will be honored next month at a New Orleans Museum of Art reception, and the kudos are well-deserved.

Nurse practitioner David Theriot and catheterization lab director Jacque Blanchard have been recognized by New Orleans City Business as 2017 Healthcare Heroes, along with 48 other medical professionals from throughout the greater New Orleans area.

Blanchard was also instrumental in the development of TGMC’s new operating room. It is this kind of talent and foresight that has marked the excellence local healthcare professionals consistently display.

Theriot is the Nurse Practitioner Team Leader at CIS. And doctors there say patients have been unsparing in their praise of the care he has provided and assists other employees in providing for them.

Other accomplishments in the medical field, largely unsung, take place every day in our communities. At Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma and Ochsner St. Ann in Raceland, quality medical care is routine. But these hospitals also provide another sorely needed service that rarely gets spoken about. Both hospitals take emergency psychiatric admissions. We easily envision lives being saved through the use of defibrillators, respirators and other trauma equipment. But lives are saved at these hospitals due to diseases of the mind as well, and there is no telling how many people have been talked or medicated out of deadly chasms of depression or from the risky precipices presented by psychoses. The network of Compass psychiatric care centers has also fit nicely into the region’s safety net structure.

As all of this proves, we have tremendous medical resources right outside our front doors.

But this brings us to the aforementioned national discussion, which in reality is – as with all politics – ultimately local.

None of these resources providing the desired level of care if they are treated as luxuries that only some can access.

The philosophy war must come to a halt and it must happen right here.

Our hospital administrators must take a more active role in discussing what their needs are with our federal delegation directly and be aggressive in doing so. They must not allow the politicians to play with their ability to deliver services.

The question that we must demand be answered by our elected representative is not which direction for managing health care meshes best with whose philosophies – left right or center – but rather what options will best ensure the greatest possible number of our citizens can access the bounty of excellent care that is available in our region.

If tennis and volleyball courts are a resource that should be made available by a local health care facility to all because they are within its mission – and we would strongly argue that it is – then we don’t see a problem with the most strenuous arguments possible must also be made that life-saving medications and life-extending treatments are equally a part of that mission and are worth fighting for.

Our elected representatives need the guidance of our local health care leaders to make decisions that are right and just. We suspect that too many other interests have had their ears. And we think the CEOs of our hospitals and various other providers, if they speak up, can be just what the doctor ordered.