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Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier moves rapidly on Highland Medical Center

Kate Archer Kent

Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier marked a new phase of construction Tuesday as part of a $55 million plan to relocate and consolidate its services at its Highland Medical Center.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for its West Wing, which will house cancer treatment, neonatal care, a birthing center, and a rehabilitation unit. With the completion of the West Wing 18 months from now, all units from its soon-to-be closed Schumpert Medical Center will be relocated to Highland. 

Christus chief operating officer Dr. William Lunn says there’s strong demand to cluster services at Highland, but not without growing pains.

“We’re already working on a concept of how do we accommodate the doctors who’ve begun to talk to us about wanting to locate on this campus? Frankly, we are getting really short on office space. That’s why we bought this land behind our building from the Phillips Foundation. We’re already finding that we’re going to need to think about developing a medical office building on this space," Lunn said, following the ceremony.

Christus is moving rapidly and has bought up about 13 acres adjacent to its Highland property. Lunn says its neonatal intensive care unit and Birth Place will relocate to a temporary space in the fall, well before the West Wing is completed.

Christus chief medical officer Dr. Steen Trawick says healthcare has changed since the Schumpert medical tower was built in the 1980s, accommodating more than 600 patient beds.

“That was the era where you could come in and stay for R and R for a week. Healthcare has evolved to the point where you can’t do that anymore. It’s to get the patient in, get them taken care of in a very effective, efficient, timely manner," Trawick said.

Lunn says the Highland Medical Center will have about 200 patient beds. He says the hospital system currently employs about 900 full-time staff, down from about 1,200 a year ago when it announced it would close its Schumpert facility.

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.