History of OGHS

Since 1957, Opelousas General Health System has been dedicated to the provision of quality health care through its strong commitment and high standards. Central to the success of OGHS’s commitment for excellence is the presence of an outstanding and highly qualified staff of physicians, nurses, technologists and other personnel who provide professional treatment in a caring environment. Serving as the region’s referral medical center, OGHS is the area’s most comprehensive community health care facility offering a wide range of medical specialities and state-of-the-art technology available today.

OGHS is a 209-bed full service medical center as complete and as inclusive as any referral hospital in the state. We also have over 1000 employees. The six story facility is located in St. Landry Parish which boast a population of 91,528. The primary service area draws From surrounding communities including: Sunset, Grand Coteau, Port Barre, Eunice, Washington, Arnaudville, Leonville, Krotz Springs, Melville, Eunice, Lawtell, Palmetto, Ville Platte and Church Point. OGHS is the second largest employer in Opelousas with over 900 employees.

Opelousas General is under the leadership of a five-member Service District Board, and a nine-member Board of Trustees. The Board has been dedicated to providing the patients of OGHS with the most advanced quality of medical care available today. Achieving this requires constant improvement of medical services and a commitment to the acquisition and implementation of new technology and services. This acquisition of technology, combined with continuing education relative to advanced medical techniques, provides a healing environment typically found in much larger metropolitan areas.

OGHS has over 125 Active Physicians comprising the following medical specialities: Anesthesiology, Allergy & Immunology, Cardiology, Dermatology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology, General Practice, Hospitalist, Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, OB-GYN, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Pulmonology, Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Sleep Medicine, Surgery, and Urology.

Over 100 physicians are on the Courtesy Medical Staff and over 15 on the Consulting Medical Staff.

Overview of 2014 Community Activities

Our History

In 1953, a group of interested citizens formed the “Inter-Club Council.” The main purpose of the Council was to see about the possibilities of obtaining a community hospital for Opelousas. Dan Outlaw was elected the Chairman. After many meetings and much work, it was determined that the Opelousas area had a real need for more general-hospital facilities. Outlaw presented the information to the St. Landry Parish Police Jury. The Jury created the Hospital Service District No. 2 and appointed a Board of five members on July 6, 1953. Sidney Sandoz was named Board Chairman.
On, September 21, 1954, the citizens of Opelousas voted to pass a one mill tax for 20 years to pay for part of the Hospital construction; the remainder of the construction costs were supplied by the Federal Government Hill-Burton Funds.

The year of 1955 saw the advertisement for bids and construction finally began. A three story building was constructed with the third floor left as a shell for completion at a later date.

In 1956, the board entered into a contract with the Sisters of the Marianites of the Holy Cross to manage the new hospital. Sister Madeline Sophie was named the first Hospital Administrator.

On May 27, 1957, Opelousas General Hospital opened its doors and received its first patient. At the end of the first month, OGH could boast that it had treated 136 patients and that 27 babies had been born. Succeeding months and years brought an ever-increasing use of the Hospital facilities.
In 1963, the third floor was completed and there was a much needed expansion of obstetrics, surgery, laundry, dietary, lab, business office and storage.

In July 1966 the OGH Administration deemed it necessary to participate in the Medicare Program sponsored by the Federal Government.

By 1970, another expansion was critical. A tax was proposed for funding but was turned down by the voters. The Board then looked to other areas for funding.

In 1972, the Marianite Sisters voluntarily ended their contract to manage OGH. Daryl Wagley was named Administrator.

In March 1973, after creation of the Opelousas General Hospital Authority (A Public Trust) revenue bonds in the amount of $3.2 million were sold to expand the facility.

In 1976 with the expansion completed, the hospital became the fourth largest hospital in Acadiana with 155 beds and a seven-bed intensive care unit.

In 1977,OGH celebrated its 20th Anniversary.

The year 1979 saw the completion of a new Administrative Wing that offered more spacious accommodations for the business office, administration, personnel and conference rooms. OGH signs an agreement to enter into a contract with Hospital Management Professionals (HMP).

In 1981 several projects were undertaken to improve services for the community. A fifth and sixth floor were completed, increasing the Hospital’s capacity to 212 beds. A new main entrance and visitor lobby was built, a 250 car parking lot was opened, and renovations of existing space allowed for the opening of an ICU family waiting room.

In 1982, a total renovation of the hospital’s obstetrical delivery rooms and new expanded nursery and post-partum area was completed.

In 1983, the hospital converted the sixth floor to a 24 bed chemical dependency unit and completed construction on its new Ancillary Wing. The three story wing housed out-patient services and included a 10 room emergency trauma center, home health care services, admit, pharmacy, physical therapy, respiratory, cardiopulmonary services, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, conference room, classrooms and a 250-seat auditorium.

The hospital completed renovations to the old admit offices and expanded the DRG department and data processing in 1984. Gary Keller is named Administrator.

In 1985, the hospital began remodeling the administrative wing, expanding several departments and began construction of a new medical office complex. Completed in 1986, the new office complex housed the offices of seven physicians, a lab, radiology department and a pharmacy. Board Chairman Sidney Sandoz retired and Wayne Gilmore is named OGH Board Chairman.

In 1986, construction was completed on the heliport which is located on the third floor roof of the Ancillary Wing. The heliport was built to accommodate large twin engine helicopters.

Remodeling began in 1987 on the Obstetrics and Gynecology wing, expanding the radiology department and construction began on the Community Cancer Center. OGH celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Michael Douthitt is named OGH/CEO. Douthitt resigns and Thomas Honaker III, is named CEO. OGH purchases the Fitness Plus Health Club and renames it the OGH Health & Wellness Center.

The new elderly program “Life’s Champions” was introduced in 1988 and OGH began offering MRI scans. OGH also premiers its own medical talk show on OWL TV. In 1989, OGH opened its skilled nursing unit, installed Doppler Imaging, and a State-of-the-art Mammography System.

1990, OGH opened its new pediatrics unit with a Ronald McDonald Room and celebrated the opening of it $3.5 Medical Office Complex. OGH also expanded its health club located on the south side of Opelousas.

A new 10-bed intensive care unit was opened in 1991 and OGH initiated its “Heart Smart” menus in area restaurants.

In 1992, the Industrial Medicine program began.

1993 saw the opening of OGH’s first heart catherization lab with Med Cath, Inc and the board approved construction of a new Women’s Health Center and surgery suites. The hospital also started its hyperbaric medicine department and cut the ribbon opening the expansion of the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation unit. Pat Carrier is Named President/CEO.

In 1994, OGH opened its rural health clinics in Melville and Palmetto.
OGH began renovation to the exterior of the hospital in 1995 and the Health & Wellness Center celebrated the groundbreaking for its expansion.
In 1996, the Women’s Health Center opened and the hospital acquired a new Echocardiography System.

OGH celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 1997 and OGH entered into a contract with Cardiovascular Institute of the South.

In 1999, OGH offers Lithotripsy, the Business Office moves to its present location, the After Hours Clinic Opens and OGH’s Healthtalk premiers on KATC TV 3. The hospital also installed a new MRI system. Darryl Doise is named President/CEO.

The new inpatient Rehabilitation Center opens in 2000. OGH also installs Digital Mammography, making it one of only 62 worldwide to have this state-of-the-art equipment.

In 2001, OGH introduces FastHealth on its website.

2002 saw the hospital’s first water birth delivery and the opening of the Vein Clinic. William “Bud” Barrow is named President/CEO.

Gastric Bypass Surgery is offered in 2003 as well as a new procedure using state-of-the-art technology to prevent amputations and bypass surgery called Peripheral Excimer Laser Angioplasty. OGH announces its name change to Opelousas General Health System and announces its $68 million expansion and renovation plans.

In 2004, OGHS and CIS announce plans to open the Heart & Vascular Institute and breaks ground on 6-story medical complex and parking garage.

A ribbon cutting was held in 2005 for the newly renovated Wound Treatment Center and OGHS wins “Most Wired Award.” OGHS installs new bar coding system for dispensing medication to patients and announces renovation of the Cancer Center and the addition of Louisiana Oncology Associates.
The OGH Imaging Center in Sunset opens.

In 2006, OGHS held a ribbon cutting for the facility’s new 6-story medical complex and parking garage. The medical complex is home to a new Emergency Center, admit department, gift shop, cafeteria and cafe’, chapel, Heart & Vascular Institute and physician medical offices. Gerald Fornoff is named President/CEO. The OGHS Foundation was formed and the expansion for Cardiopulmonary Rehab completed.

OGHS celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007, Cut the ribbon opening the new Sleep Disorders Center and held a dedication service in the new Healing Garden.

In 2008, OGHS was the site of three major film productions highlighting Orthopedic & Spine Surgeon, Dr. George “Ray” Williams, Hitachi’s documentary on the OGHS Emergency Center and Schumacher Group, and a comedy/horror movie. The hospital also entered into an $8 million contract with McKesson to upgrade software, the wound treatment center doubled its size, Susan G. Komen awarded OGHS a $50,000 grant and the hospital announced an letter of intent to purchase Doctor’s Hospital of Opelousas from Lifepoint.

In 2009, the unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the opening of our South Campus location, the former Doctor's Hospital.  Also in 2009, the campus of OGHS and its affiliates went tobacco free.  The Wellness Department was added for employee health.

In 2010, OGHS Board of Trustees selected Gary Keller to serve a third term as President/CEO.  Gina Bradley Tuttle was elected Board Chairwoman.  OGHS received the Bronze Level Louisiana Hospital Award for implementing quality initiatives directed toward improving patient care in the hospital setting.  An innovative new treatment for Blood Clots using isolated pharmacomechanical thrombolysis for rapid, safe and effective removal of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was introduced. The latest advancement in orthopaedic surgery, computer-assisted technology for knee replacement surgery was added. The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons granted a three year accreditation with commendation to the Cancer Program at OGHS.  The Cancer program has remained accredited since its inception in 1989.  Opelousas General's Pet Imaging Center earned a three year ACR Accreditation.

In 2011, OGHS mourned the loss of Wayne Gilmore, Chairman of the Board, who served as a member since 1971.  Opelousas General Health System became one of only two hospitals in the state of Louisiana to pilot the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE).  The Clinical Documentation Improvement Department was implemented.  OGHS offers new diagnostic technology for cardiac patients, an instantaneous full-volume imaging system.  The Gerald E. Posner Center for Women's Health opened its doors.
The Better Business Bureau awarded OGHS with the " Good Neighbor" award for support of local charities. 

In 2012, Mark E. Marley, President/CEO was selected by the Board of Trustees.  Opelousas General welcomed three new physicians to its medical staff.  Husband and wife team, Drs. Alllison and Jason Hatfield. Dr. Allison Hatfield is a pediatrician and Dr. Jason Hatfield specializes in Family Medicine.  Also welcomed was Dr. Gabriela Pichardo-Lafontaine, board certified in Internal Medicine.  Opelousas General was selected to participate in Best Fed Beginnings, an unprecedented national effort to increase breastfeeding rates in US hospitals.  The daVinci Si Surgical System was introduced.  The Better Business Bureau awarded OGHS with the "Ethie Award" for ethical business practices and consistently following the BBB code of advertising guidelines.

In 2013, OGHS offers pediatric therapy services at our South Campus location.