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Population growth in Ascension means more health care options

GONZALES, La. (WAFB) – A $25 million Ochsner Clinic will open in Gonzales in hopes of providing more medical care to patients.

Between traffic and drainage, Ascension parish leaders say they needed an update.

“Our infrastructure is currently experiencing growth difficulties, roads, drainage facilities, things like that,” says Ascension Parish Director of Planning and Development, Jérôme Fournier.

However, infrastructure is not limited to drainage and roads, it also includes resources such as medical care. “Hospital facilities are part of the infrastructure in general, absolutely. Hospitals provide primary care, secondary care that you know to patients. It has to adapt to the growth that is occurring,” adds Fournier.

For a time in Ascension Parish, people had access to only a few options for medical treatment, but as more people moved to the area, more and more more medical institutions have opened. “Even when I came here 20 years ago, you know, going through Bayou Manchac to get to Baton Rouge was a big thing for patients to have to get treatment. Now 20 years later the traffic is worse, you know there are more people here,” says Dr William Baird who practices internal medicine at Ochsner.

Dr. Baird has practiced in Ascension Parish for 20 years, but now he will spend more time in Gonzales at the new Ochsner Health Care Center.

“As the population has grown, it has also aged and so there are more health problems. No more issues to deal with,” adds Baird.

The design of the clinic will offer more to patients in the region, such as providing specialists and other health care services like MRIs and pain management.

“If a patient has to make the decision to say, ‘Well, I could go to Baton Rouge to do this test, this MRI, for example, but I have to talk to my daughter to find out when she’s off because I’m not working no. ‘t drive to Baton Rouge.’ It’s a delay in care,” says Baird.

The Gonzales Ochsner Clinic and its 18 exam rooms will open June 14.

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