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Tennessee firm opens airway disease center in Shreveport

Kate Archer Kent

A Nashville, Tenn.-based health care company that operates treatment centers for airway diseases like allergies and asthma has opened a location in Shreveport. It’s the sixth BreatheAmerica location in the U.S.  The physician-led practice will consist of allergists, pulmonologists, and ear nose and throat surgeons connected with LSU Health Shreveport, Willis-Knighton Health System, and private practice, according to BreatheAmerica's executive vice president of operations Ron Charpentier.

“Seeing the LSU Health Shreveport physicians here, seeing the Willis-Knighton doctors here, really crossing the lines of different medical communities and bringing the best doctors together and then clinically integrating them to really manage those diseases is really going to drive the best outcomes," said Charpentier, who attended Tuesday's open house.

Longtime Shreveport allergist Dr. Peter Boggs will be medical director. It’s a dream come true for him to see these specialists come together under one roof from different hospital systems. The spry 74-year-old aims to one day be the oldest allergy physician still in practice. He likes the idea of having colleagues at arm’s reach.

“It’s the expertise that’s here. So, if I see someone with an issue, instead of having to wait eight weeks or 16 weeks to see a pulmonologist or an ENT, I walk right down the hall and grab whoever is here that day and say, Would you mind taking a look at this patient?” Boggs said.

BreatheAmerica opened in Shreveport, according to Charpentier, because of Boggs’ national reputation in the allergy field, and his ability to bring together local specialists to be part of this healthcare venture.

According to BreatheAmerica’s most recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company received $2.8 million in debt funding in September. It raised $22 million in venture capital in 2011. Charpentier said the company's model, which grew out of Vanderbilt University, will open more centers nationwide. But he added it will be slow and measured growth.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.