By T. Scott Boatright
The Lincoln Parish Police Jury held a special-called meeting Monday to approve changes to the planned Health Hub floor plan.
Set to be located on donated land adjacent to the current site of the Northern Louisiana Medical Center, the estimated project cost for the Health Hub, which will include the Lincoln Parish Health Unit and provide medical-related services to parish residents, is $8,787,621.00
Architect Mike Walpole said the planned changes approved during Monday’s special-called meeting will be “a net wash,” balanced out by the removal of a planned drive around the complex that has been eliminated from the site plans.
LPPJ Health and Welfare Committee chair Annette Straughter said the changes were requested after discussions with numerous nurses and doctors who will be working at the planned Health Hub, including director Dr. Jackie White.
“We need to build something that will allow each entity using the building the ability to use the space to its best use to provide the best services to the people of Lincoln Parish,” Straughter said. “That being said, we’re looking at the Health Unit, and we need to adjust the floor plans now. It will affect services being provided now as well as prepare for new services that could come up in the future.
“It also should appeal not only to our employees but also our future employees because it is going to be a very unique, state-of-the-art type of facility. It will also promote the growth and community involvement in our building.”
Maybe the biggest change to the floor plans is connecting a bathroom to a laboratory to allow for safer and faster transfer of specimens to the lab room itself.
The changes will include a transfer portal with doors on either side where patients can easily place a specimen they are providing and it can be transferred directly to the lab room through the wall connecting the bathroom and lab room.
“That’s a change suggested by Dr. Tonya Sheppard Hunter, (director of Region 8 health units in north Louisiana),” Straughter said. “That’s a change Dr. Hunter said is a must and as a nurse, I must agree with her.
“We also have added a WIC kitchen. If you’re not familiar with WIC, it provides nutritional information to underprivileged people, providing them with basics like eggs and butter and teaching them how to cook a nutritional meal for their families. We’ll have a WIC kitchen and WIC supply closet.”
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk.
The addition of a room for medical records is another addition to the floor plan.
“That’s so important – the need for medical records storage,” Straughter said.
Walpole said the changes, which will also add about three feet to the back of the planned building, will balance out with no major additional estimated cost with the elimination of the planned drive in front of the building that was originally considered for easier access to patients in the midst of the COVID pandemic.
“We also lost a little space on the side, but I think the net will end up making it less expensive (instead of) more expensive (than original cost projections),” Walpole said. “There will be some redesign costs involved, but those will be less than what we’re leaving out.”
LPPJ members present at the meeting – Straughter, Richard Durrett, Sharyon Mayfield, Skip Russell, Glenn Scriber, Logan Hunt and Hazel Hunter – unanimously approved the changes.
Jury members not present at the special-called meeting were Joe Henderson, TJ Cranford, Theresa Wyatt, Matt Pullin and Milton Melton.