Health Care, Facilities, St. Francis, Vantage, Monroe, Jobs - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Health Care Facilities on the rise

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Health care is the number one job provider in Ouachita Parish. It employs more than 13,000 people. Many of the major medical groups are expanding their services.

If you drive around Ouachita Parish, you'll see health care facilities popping up.

St. Francis Medical Center broke ground Wednesday for their new community health center. St. Francis Medical Director, Louis Bremer, says "the first phase of the project is a 4 story building. It's approximately 97,000 square feet, it'll occupy roughly 6 of the 12 acres."

St. Francis Medical Center has a community center, but it's in a building they have been leasing for almost 20 years. They've outgrown that building. Bremer says, "we've got about 6 acres for future development. Depending on the size of the building, we can put another 1 to 2 buildings on that."

Vantage Health is also growing in Monroe. They've bought land near the Monroe Surgical Hospital to grow their specialty offices; and bring in more resources to the area. Vantage Health's Michael Echols, says "we anticipate that growth the continue. We'll be needing more physicians, more nurses, more assistants, and more receptionist. We'll be growing, and it's a real exciting time."

There are many reasons why health care is growing across the United States, one reason the baby boomer population is aging. Bremer says, "I think to a certain extent people are more health conscious. They are getting checked a lot more, their care is getting managed probably a little bit more closely."

Both men agree, health care will continue to grow. Echols says, "you obviously want to have centers of excellence working together. People from the rural parishes will come in to receive higher quality."

Both say this is a positive thing for Monroe because it will continue to create jobs.

St. Francis expects its new clinic to open in the late summer of 2014. Vantage also plans to have theirs open in 2014.

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