Baton Rouge General Hospital

Wallis Watkins

Over the past four years, access to hospitals and emergency rooms has dwindled in north Baton Rouge, forcing residents there to travel farther for health care. As of Wednesday, they have a new — and closer — option. 


“Is your hospital next?” asked a sign prominently displayed during a February 11 rally on the state Capitol steps, protesting the planned closure of Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Emergency Room. With that ER shutting down tomorrow—an unintended consequence of privatizing Louisiana’s charity hospital system—it’s a question that continues to trouble Baton Rouge Rep. Patricia Smith.

Wallis Watkins

After the nearby charity hospital, Earl K. Long, was shut down, Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Emergency Room took on more patients. And, in 2013, LSU Health’s Urgent Care Clinic in North Baton Rouge opened. But, the sign on the urgent care clinic’s door reads, “NO EMERGENCY ROOM.”

East Baton Rouge Parish EMS

Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary sits on the northern edge of East Baton Rouge Parish. Ochsner on O’Neal Lane and Our Lady of the Lake on Essen are both about 20 miles to the south.  

There will be no emergency room in between once Baton Rouge General at Mid City closes their ER sometime between April and May.  That means ambulances will have farther to travel. 

For the first time, Baton Rouge General Medical Center is hosting insurance navigators, trained to offer assistance to anyone who wants to buy health care coverage through the federal marketplace, which is now in its second year.


Jim Nickel is in the guest chair today while Jim Engster is away, and Nickel's brought with him three guests to help us cover politics, football and the recent advances in cancer prevention here in Baton Rouge.

Stuart Rothenberg of PBS and rothenbergpoliticalreport.com joins us for the first segment today to talk a little politics with Nickel. Stu and Nickel talk about the recent poll numbers and overall rating on President Obama so far in his sixth year in office, recent news concerning Louisiana politics, and more.

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is with us for the second segment of today's show, and he and Nickel talk about the newly renovated Tiger Stadium. Food stands, restrooms, TV's and about 24,000 seats are just a few of the recent additions to Death Valley, and Alleva touts how these add-on's enhance the experience for fans on Saturday nights. They also discuss the long-time hot debate topic of whether or not college athletes should be paid; the new SEC Network; and much, much more.

Also, Dr. Gerald Miletello joins us for the last segment to close out today's show. Dr. Miletello is Hematology Oncologist at Baton Rouge General and he and Nickel discuss the recent advances of the IL-2 Cancer Treatment Program at BR General. Other than Houston, Baton Rouge is the only city in a five state area that administers the use of the IL-2 Program, and Dr. Miletello discusses the success he's had so far in battling cancer.


The closure of Earl K. Long hospital last year with the privatization of Louisiana’s charity hospital system sent a wave of uninsured patients to Baton Rouge General.

Under the strain of their care, the hospital had decided to close its emergency room. But Baton Rouge General’s ER was rescued at the last-minute Wednesday.

Don Gregory, health policy advisor for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, explains whether that deserves a sigh of relief. 


DHH Steps in to Save Baton Rouge General's ER

Aug 27, 2014
Baton Rouge General's mid-city emergency room at night.
Sue Lincoln

The state Department of Health and Hospitals has found funds to allow Baton Rouge General Hospital to keep its emergency room open after an imminent threat of closure.

Several local media outlets reported Wednesday morning that the hospital administration had notified staff that the ER would close Nov. 1.

DHH preempted any official closure announcement with a last-minute deal, providing the hospital $18 million in state and federal money to care for the uninsured. Hospital President Mark Slyter called the deal a “hail Mary pass”.

Baton Rouge General's mid-city emergency room at night.
Sue Lincoln

It’s been nearly a year since the state started implementing public-private partnerships for the LSU Hospital System, formerly known as Louisiana’s Charity Hospitals. The plan was pushed as a cost-saver for the state. How is it working out? Good for some and not so good for others—with patients and hospital caregivers caught in the middle.

Students from the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts are now lending their talents to Baton Rouge General's Arts in Medicine Program launched a year ago.