No other institution in the LSU Health System exemplifies the strength of a safety net of healthcare better than Huey P. Long Medical Center (HPLMC) in Alexandria. Away from the coast and centrally located, HPLMC received patients from other LSU hospitals who evacuated due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
HPLMC received more than 1,400 patient visits as a result of the two storms. It provided medication to those who had no other recourse, and its staff cared for hundreds in shelters in the area.
HPLMC typically admitted those who already were inpatients in evacuated hospitals and women about to give birth. Its new outpatients typically were chronic-disease patients in need of prescriptions and close monitoring. HPLMC and the Office of Public Health developed a pharmacy in the special needs shelter at LSU-Alexandria and provided it with medical supplies.
Besides providing care at this shelter, HPLMC physicians and nurses saw more than 800 patients at emergency shelters in the area, providing immunizations, monitoring chronic conditions, and offering hope.
During both storms, HPLMC fulfilled its role without fail as a Tier 1 acute care facility and maintained emergency intraregional communication with others. HPLMC increased staffing and resources to meet the influx of patients. It opened all of its beds and purchased more beds.
Like other HCSD hospitals, HPLMC hired and provided accommodations for HCSD employees who had evacuated coastal Louisiana. Trainees resumed their residencies at HPLMC, permitting HCSD to fulfill its mission not only of healthcare but also of healthcare education, despite the catastrophes that had consumed much of Louisiana.
The location and superior healthcare capabilities of HPLMC permit it to be a surge hospital for LSU HCSD. With this formal designation, it is the first LSU hospital that receives patients evacuated from other LSU hospitals and also receives staff from these hospitals who will then care for the evacuated patients, exhibiting the extreme resiliency of the LSU Health System.
In times of crises, HPLMC is the keystone in the LSU HCSD emergency preparedness system, and in the provision of daily healthcare it is the enduring foundation for thousands in its region.