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Lafayette hospital improves since takeover

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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Officials say patients at Lafayette's University Hospital & Clinics are spending far less time waiting in the emergency room these days and are more satisfied with the care they receive.

Jared Stark, the chief executive officer, touted the hospital's turnaround since Lafayette General Health took over operations of the public hospital in June through a $15.8 million annual lease agreement with the state.

"We've made so many positive changes and affected so many lives," Stark said.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1uSeb8w ) the public hospital faced several budget cuts prior to the takeover, forcing the closure or reduction of services. In the past year, those services have been reopened or expanded in orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, oncology and medical detox.

"We've tripled our physician coverage for the oncology unit and recruited Dr. Wendy Dean-Colomb who will train residents and do research here, as well," Stark said.

Staff at the public hospital had also been reduced to about 500 before Lafayette General Health took over operations. Now, 700 are employed at UHC, Stark said, "so, we're a major economic force in the community, and we're proud of that."

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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