Big-city health care in a community hospital
In the early 1950s, Jennings was a progressive community of 10,000. City roads had recently been paved, the library underwent expansion and plans were underway for a modernized high school. During this time of tremendous growth, community leaders and physicians practicing in Jennings recognized the need for a local hospital. In response, the members of James O. Hall Post 19 American Legion bought the Plaquemine Street “Shirley Clinic” from Dr. Louis Shirley Sr. The American Legion membership committed to establishing and operating an acute care hospital, which was ultimately dedicated and fully operational in December 1960.
The commitment of the American Legion membership and the unity of area leaders and residents is a testament to the community of Jennings, and has served as a foundation for the type of care that the hospital provides. Jennings American Legion Hospital strives each day to provide big-city services in a small-town atmosphere on the same site that was dedicated in 1960.
The hospital has continued its commitment to patients by providing the latest 21st century technology, procedures, and treatments. Those efforts have included a new obstetrics wing, emergency room, admissions offices, business offices and lobby and the renovation of surgical suites and the radiology department. The hospital also includes a 24,000 square-foot Medical Office Building and 32,000 square-foot Patient Tower.
The Patient Tower – a multi-story, $4.8 million project – increased the hospital’s inpatient licensed bed capacity in order to meet increasing demands in the numbers of inpatients, outpatients and surgical cases. Local and area residents and businesses contributed more than $300,000 toward the purchase of furnishings and equipment used in the Patient Tower – yet another demonstration of area residents’ commitment to Jennings and support for JALH.
JALH is also proud to offer the only state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab facility for patients on the Interstate 10 corridor between Lake Charles and Lafayette. The recently added facility is housed in a newly renovated 5,000-square-foot area of the hospital, which was designed specifically for the new catheterization lab and cardiac rehabilitation area. With the facilitation of this cath lab, JALH is able to offer various interventional procedures as well as nuclear stress testing and echocardiograms. The cardiac rehabilitation program offers services to those who have recently experienced heart procedures, such as valve replacement, stents or transplants.
Jennings American Legion Hospital stands as an example of small-town unity, support and collaboration, combined with modernized technology designed to care for the residents that created it.
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