State health officials discuss emergency health response program

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La. (KLFY) – State health officials say over the years, Louisiana has ramped up its emergency response.

“I always tell people it’s because we don’t do drills, we do real-life events. There are so many disasters,” explains state health officer Jimmy Guidry.

In 2004, the state officials created the Louisiana Emergency Response Network or LERN.

Guidry says it’s a care coordination system for patients with a traumatic injury, stroke or heart attack and used for larger scale emergencies and natural disasters.

“They’re matching up that EMS person with the hospital that can take that care,” Guidry says.

According to a recent report by Best Life Magazine, Baton Rouge is ranked 30 and New Orleans is ranked 12 out of 50 U.S. cities with the best emergency response rate.

Health officials say before Hurricane Katrina there were only two trauma centers in Louisiana, one in New Orleans and one in Shreveport.

Now there are 6, with 60% of residents within one hour of care.

The closest trauma centers to Acadiana are in Alexandria and Baton Rouge, but that may change.

Lafayette General Medical Center currently has a trauma program.

They’re on their way to becoming a trauma center.

“It’s quite an ordeal become a trauma center. They have to go through the American College of surgeons, they have to show they can deliver the care and they have to be recognized by the state,” says Guidry.

The American college of surgeons is visiting Lafayette General Medical Center in April of this year.

State officials hope this trauma center designation keeps improving Louisiana’s emergency response to the next natural disaster.

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