WKHS Suburban Health Centers
Accessibilty, continuity of care, electronic health records essential
Based on the numbers, north Bossier is on the grow, and Willis-Knighton Health System has taken note.
“It’s no secret that this region is one of the, if not the, fastest-growing areas in the state of Louisiana,” says Brian Crawford, executive senior vice president/chief administrative officer for Willis- Knighton. “Specifically, the 71111 ZIP code and 71006 ZIP code, which is the Benton area, is going to see an influx of about 5,000 new individuals to their population over the next four years.”
Willis-Knighton’s expansion into north Bossier is the result of extensive research into projected growth patterns of the area, medical necessity as well as feedback from citizens and civic and government officials about what more they wanted in health-care services for their families, friends and neighbors. “People wanted those services to be provided more conveniently and more accessibly,” Crawford says. That desire was the springboard for new suburban health centers.
Where to begin? The group turned to a longtime North Bossier site, the former Palmetto Country Club. They purchased the Palmetto property to create WK Palmetto Village. The old clubhouse was renovated as a community center in Phase I. According to Crawford, Phase II of the Willis-Knighton plan called for opening Palmetto Health Park at 1001 Lackland Blvd. off Palmetto Road in Benton. It opened March 15, bringing urgent care and basic diagnostic services to the former greens and fairways. Phase III calls for a business park integrated with the residential community. “The model is a community of shops and houses and businesses, those types of mixed-use facilities,” Crawford says.
The concept is to create a health-conscious community that’s available and accessible. In a recent community needs health assessment, Willis-Knighton discovered that despite its explosive growth in recent years, Bossier needs doctors.
“In Bossier Parish, there’s one physician for every 2,334 people,” Crawford says. Those numbers are important to the CMS, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid services, because it means north Bossier is considered an underserved community.
To meet those needs, Willis-Knighton launched a program to create a virtually identical suburban health center at Swan Lake and Airline on 22 acres. “A third facility is currently under construction at Stockwell, and we’re calling it Stockwell on Shed Road, that’s right across from the Walmart,” Crawford says. “Our fourth area is outside of Bossier, and is in the rapidly growing and expanding area of Blanchard. We’re calling it our Northwood facility. It’s between I-49 and Walmart on Highway 1.” Crawford says all the centers will house primary care physicians as well as extended hour Quick Care service. “These are the areas, based on the feedback and the research that we did, where there is the greatest need. The normal business operation hours for the suburban health centers will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Quick Care is like our other Quick Cares; they do the 7-7-7 thing, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We already will have a primary care physician at each facility, but we’re also looking at having a specialist in the future, OB- GYNs, cardiologists, orthopedists.”
Evolving technology will allow greater interaction with your physician without making a commute on the often trafficthick Airline and Benton Road corridors, Crawford says. If your doctor wants blood tests and you are close to one of the centers, you can have the testing done at the center and the results sent to your doctor at Willis-Knighton through the electronic health records (EHR) system. The EHR connects all Willis-Knighton doctors, hospitals, even satellite clinics.
Each one of these clinics has a diagnostic service center that provides X-ray, ultrasounds, 3-D mammography, bone density and laboratory services. Your doctor can see the results, wherever his physical office is, and then decide the proper treatment protocol.
“You can walk into any of these facilities, and you can say I have an appointment and go to one side and see your doctor, or I don’t have an appointment and I’m not feeling well, you go to the Quick Care side, and you’re seen immediately,” Crawford says. “And the great thing about it is if you don’t have a primary care physician, they are going to refer you to the primary care physician on the other side for a follow-up. It goes hand in glove – to make sure that you have a continuity of care passed that one visit.
“It’s a greater level of convenient, quality care that’s provided for the patient. It’s the next evolution in medicine and health care we see not only here but across the country. We’re just the first ones to bring it to Shreveport and Bossier.”
• The largest growth pattern in Bossier Parish was 71111 and 71006.
• Largest 0-17 [year-old] population.
• Largest 18–44-year-old female demographic.
• They also had the largest populations in the 45-64 age group out of Caddo and Bossier parishes.
COMING SOON ….
“The Palmetto facility opened March 15. We anticipate the next opening will be our Stockwell facility on Shed Road probably in June. Blanchard, we just closed on the property [sale], we anticipate that opening in late fall towards the end of the year. Swan Lake and Airline will probably be the first quarter of 2022,” Crawford said.