North Oaks Health System of Hammond is dedicated to providing excellent medical care and health education, as well as community outreach and support, to residents of the Florida Parishes. Founded in 1960 as a community-based hospital organization, North Oaks has grown into an advanced health care system offering a wide range of general and specialty medical and surgical services.
As a community-based hospital organization, North Oaks’ commitment to service extends far beyond the confines of its facilities. Throughout the year, North Oaks continued to respond to the needs of a growing community, with the health system providing almost $1 million in community outreach and corporate partnerships, along with $27.5 million in uncompensated care. Foremost on North Oaks’ agenda of community involvement remained a commitment to preventative health education. Over 850 community education programs were offered to 22,452 participants, including free support group meetings and classes on topics as varied as smoking cessation, formulating advance directives, prenatal health, CPR and even babysitting. Nearly 60 screening events were hosted, including blood pressure checks, cholesterol and glucose screenings, lung capacity evaluations, infant and child car seat safety checks – each with life-saving potential. North Oaks Sports Medicine Physical Day continued its popularity with 1,504 junior high and high school student-athletes from 22 schools receiving free physical exams. The fourteenth annual event, held in May 2006, was made possible by 150 North Oaks employees and volunteers, as well as 28 physicians and nurse practitioners. Through HOT Team, a community relations program whereby staff members volunteer their personal time, 263 members logged 2,616 service hours, valued at $45,910.80, at 61 events.
Since inception, a five-person Board of Commissioners has directed North Oaks’ mission of providing for “the health care and health educational needs of the citizens of Tangipahoa and the Florida Parishes.” With their vision, services have expanded over the years with one goal – enabling area residents to access high quality health care services close to home. Their formula has proven effective; almost every conceivable health care service can be attended to locally.
Today with over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, the health system includes:
The North Oaks medical staff has grown to more than 160 physicians, who represent over 35 specialties.
North Oaks Health System’s history is rich in advancement. In 1969, an “east wing” was added to the present-day North Oaks Medical Center, primarily to enlarge the obstetrics, postnatal care areas and nurseries. In the late 70’s, the elevated portion of I-55 and its intersection with I-12 was completed, and Hammond grew rapidly. North Oaks Medical Center followed suit by renovating 43,000 square feet of existing space and adding a 95,000 square foot, three-story wing in 1982-83. This allowed for the enlargement of all hospital departments.
In 1992, Maternal/Child Services was centralized to the new Women’s Pavilion, and North Oaks Hospice was officially licensed. The following year, another Hammond hospital, Westpark, was purchased and, by 1996, transformed into North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital. The Family Medicine Clinics began in 1994 to meet the demand for more primary care physicians. In 1998, a 250,000-square-foot, four-story signature building was opened and followed by the renovation of 45,000 square feet of renovations to the original medical center building. The project transformed the health system’s flagship into a 500,000-square-foot health care complex and, again, allowed for all service areas to grow.
In 2002, the Telemetry Unit relocated to a 32,342-square-foot new home on the fourth floor of the signature building to provide heart and stroke patient care at its best. This fourth floor was formerly an unimproved shell to plan for future growth. The $10 million project encompasses 40 patient rooms (20 private and 20 semi-private), 60 beds and advanced monitoring equipment. The original unit housed 37 beds, and often, demand for services would cause a bed shortage, making it necessary for telemetry patients to be admitted to other nursing units. The opening of the new Telemetry Unit cleared the way for its former location to be converted into 76 additional Medicine Unit beds and brought the North Oaks bed count to 355 in 2003.
In the summer of 2004, North Oaks opened a newly constructed therapeutic Aquatic Center adjacent to North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital. Also near North Oaks Rehabilitation Services outpatient facility, the Aquatic Center is utilized to provide water-based physical and occupational therapy, as well as group exercise classes. The Aquatic Center opening was followed in the winter of 2004 by the opening of the technologically advanced 49,000-square-foot North Oaks Diagnostic Center. This facility opening on the Medical Center campus made possible the relocation of many outpatient services from the health system’s hospital campuses to one convenient location. The Diagnostic Center was constructed at a cost of $14.8 million with over $5 million invested in sophisticated medical and educational equipment. It houses outpatient admissions, the Sleep Disorders Center, outpatient radiological services (Diagnostic X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, Digital Mammography, Ultrasound, Bone Densitometry, Nuclear Medicine), Phlebotomy (laboratory) services, as well as the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center for health education.
Also in the winter of 2004, North Oaks embarked on a cooperative agreement with the local governing authority of Livingston Parish, which was started by an invitation to open a health care facility there – North Oaks Specialty & Walk-In Clinics in Walker. After studying the parish’s health care market, North Oaks officials made the decision to offer a support network for the primary care physicians in the area through the provision of specialty health care services, including cardiology, ENT, internal medicine, nephrology, obstetrics and gynecology and urology, with the involvement of physicians on the North Oaks medical staff. As a further enhancement to local health care, North Oaks Walk-In Clinic was designed to function in the same facility space as an extended hours, no appointment necessary facility to treat most illnesses and minor traumatic injuries from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. It is staffed with family and emergency medicine-trained physicians qualified to care for patients of all ages – from infants (ages 2 months and older) to senior adults and everyone in between.
With the area North Oaks serves remaining one of the fastest-growing regions in the state, North Oaks continues to meet the challenges of expansion, moving forward with new projects designed to meet current needs and prepare for the future.
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