Monday was a big day for healthcare in Acadiana as a new name replaced University Medical Center. State budget cuts left the future of the hospital in limbo and became a hot button issue for lawmakers over the past year.
A new sign means new beginnings for University Hospital and Clinics—formerly called UMC. But it's business as usual for the hospital which now operates under Lafayette General Health Systems. The unveiling was a proud moment for those involved. Senator Fred Mills is among the lawmakers who fought to save the charity hospital.
"It's just a total victory and you don't get to celebrate those too often and that's what we're doing today," said Mills.
Hospital officials call the partnership a "historic moment for the community." In the last few weeks, 65 new employees were hired as well as 18 LSU medical residents. Lafayette General Medical Center's CEO, David Callecod, says training and keeping doctors in Lafayette is a key focus.
"With over 350 beds, all of a sudden we become more important, not only to LSU but also to insurers and companies that do research and innovation," said Callecod.
It was a long road leading up to the unveiling. Several programs were cut in the last year and many feared the hospital would shut down. Linda Reddoch advocated for change since the very beginning of what seemed like the end.
"It is a beacon of hope to these people and that's what people need. People need hope and that's what this hospital is for," said Reddoch.
And it's the first week on the job for UHC's new CEO Jared Stark who understands the challenges ahead.
"It will take some time to get back the services we once provided, but we'll look at not only what the community wants, but what we're capable of providing and doing a great job with quality care," said Stark.
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