- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

MONROE, La. (AP) - The board of St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe has voted to conduct a feasibility study on moving all its operations out of downtown to the hospital’s north campus on U.S. 165.

Chief executive Louis Bremer tells The News-Star (http://tnsne.ws/1iDuymy ) the board met Wednesday night and voted to conduct the study.

The hospital has operated in downtown Monroe for more than a century.

“We’re all very sensitive to the fact that we’ve been at that location for 100 years and we don’t want people to think we’re abandoning downtown Monroe if this consolidation takes place,” Bremer said in an interview with The News-Star.

“But we’re in a changing health care world, and we have to make sure we’re delivering services in the most effective, efficient way possibly to make sure we can continue to serve this community for another 100 years,” he said.

Bremer says the cost of maintaining the aging, 750,000-square-foot downtown facility, as well as lower Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, a trend toward outpatient care and the privatization of the state’s charity hospital system prompted St. Francis and its board to consider their options.

Bremer said its costs about $3.5 million annually just to provide utilities for the downtown campus, and that doesn’t include repairs.

All of these are factors that have led us to say we need to do something different,” Bremer said. “We have two (acute care) campuses, and we have to analyze how we can reduce costs.”

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

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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