The following Op-Ed was submitted to KQKI News by State Senator Bret Allain - District 51.
"Much has been made about the recent announcement that Franklin Foundation Hospital will transition to being named Bayou Bend Health System in the near future. As a board member of Hospital Service District No. 1, the entity tasked with overseeing the operation of the hospital and all of its services, I want to express why I wholeheartedly endorse the re-branding of our parish hospital.
What’s in a name? A name is your first interaction with the general public. It is the most basic way to convey who and what you are in that brief instance when someone sees, hears, or experiences your brand—your identity.
For decades, the name Franklin Foundation Hospital has given off just that—it’s been a place to seek treatment after you get sick. The old business model in healthcare was about filling beds, treating the symptoms that brought you there in the first place, and sending you home when those symptoms were relieved.
Strategies today are focused on outpatient services and preventative care that have longer-term rates of success that keep patients healthier and less likely to need long stays in a traditional hospital setting. Due to these changes in healthcare delivery, Franklin Foundation must change with it, and leadership has been focused on positioning the hospital for future success.
Five years ago, our district hired CEO Stephanie Guidry to lead the effort of providing the best healthcare possible, not only to Franklin, but to our wider service area. Her leadership has brought new doctors to our facility, and they have brought with them additional specialties and services for their patients. We also have first-class nurses and medical professionals that strive to make your experience with the hospital second-to-none.
This effort to revitalize our parish hospital must be told, not only to current users of the hospital, but also to those who no longer use it and those who have never given us a chance. The Board of Directors recently commissioned a survey that found 72% of people in our service area travel elsewhere to receive medical care. A major reason for this outmigration is the perception that Franklin Foundation is still the old facility with a bad reputation on Hospital Avenue. This does not reflect the image we need to portray or the direction we are headed.
The biggest change coming to our facility is the Wellness Center that is currently under construction. For the first time in memory, Franklin and our service area is going to have something that even Lafayette doesn’t have. This center will be focused on improving health care outcomes in our region—which are historically low—by engaging patients with strategies and lifestyle changes that can mitigate the catastrophic health events that require long stays in the hospital. These long stays often lead to the bad outcomes we are hoping to avoid.
The Wellness Center is about changing our approach to health care—being more proactive instead of reactive with our care. This change in mission allows us to still offer what everyone associates with Franklin Foundation—the basics—while reimagining what health care can be for our people. This name change to Bayou Bend Health System encompasses all of the ideas and strategies mentioned above. Focusing on what Franklin Foundation has always been doesn’t set us up for success in the future. Building a stronger, forward-thinking network of care for our entire region is what this is all about.
It is time to build on the foundation of the past and transition to a new and better healthcare delivery system that the people of this area can know and trust. I think Bayou Bend Health System does just that."