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St. Francis hospital may move to north campus

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MONROE, La. (AP) — Officials say St. Francis Medical Center's decision whether to move from downtown Monroe and consolidate its acute care hospital services to its facility on U.S. Highway 165 should come before the end of the year.

Chief Executive Louis Bremer and Stewart Gentry, chairman of St. Francis' local advisory board, tell The News-Star (http://tnsne.ws/1r6irRy ) consultants are working to collect data to evaluate both plants and ultimately come up with a recommendation by September.

St. Francis, which has been an anchor in downtown Monroe for more than a century, is the largest hospital in northeastern Louisiana and one of its largest employers with about 2,200 full- and part-time workers.

An economic impact study conducted by University of Louisiana at Monroe economists Bob Eisenstadt and Paul Nelson estimated St. Francis is responsible for about $660 million in annual economic activity.

Bremer said the downtown campus, which includes one building that dates back to 1944, "was built for a different era of health care."

"It was designed for inpatient care; not outpatient care," Bremer said. "We have 450 inpatient beds and we need nowhere near that many. The number of inpatients we serve today is more like 250 to 275."

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Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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