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North Oaks Community Forum: Facts vs. Myths

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On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the North Oaks Board of Commissioners and President/CEO Michele Sutton hosted the health system’s first town hall forum at the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center with the goal of encouraging open communication and collaboration with the community.

A brief update on recent activities at North Oaks was given with the forum dedicated to answering questions from the public and debunking myths circulating about the health system.

“We are very pleased with the turnout for our first community forum and are grateful to all who attended, asked questions and provided feedback,” Sutton shares. “We want to hear from you about your experience with North Oaks – whether we exceeded your expectations or if we fell short of them.”

If you have a question or concern you would like addressed at our next forum scheduled for fall 2017, please email President/CEO Michele Sutton at

Facts vs. Myths

MYTH #1:
I pay taxes to support North Oaks Medical Center.

No taxes have been paid to support the operations of North Oaks Medical Center since 1984, and the final payment was received in 1985.

MYTH #2:
North Oaks makes a profit on each patient we treat.

Approximately 80% of the patients at North Oaks Medical Center are covered by Medicare (government-sponsored health insurance for those 65+) and Medicaid (government-sponsored health insurance for those with lower incomes). Payments from these government health plans do not cover the cost of care provided.

This is one example of uncompensated care.

In FYE 2016, North Oaks provided more than $42.5 million in uncompensated care and bad debt, for which we were not paid.

MYTH #3:
North Oaks does not provide high quality care.

North Oaks’ performance is monitored extensively by multiple outside organizations to confirm we maintain high standards of care.

North Oaks has been recognized by several of these organization for exceptional quality and safety.

North Oaks Women’s Services received the Louisiana Blue Cross/Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center+ for our expertisein delivering high quality, efficient maternity care, and was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Health for achieving the state’s highest breast feeding quality designation, The GIFT.

Our Trauma Program earned official verification from the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma and was designated a Level II Trauma Center by the Louisiana Department of Health in 2016.

Both North Oaks Medical Center and North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital are certified stroke centers of excellence.

MYTH #4:
You have to go to New Orleans or Baton Rouge for the best doctors and nurses.

Our doctors have trained all over the country and are bringing cutting edge technology and procedures to our market.

More than 130 nurses (20% of our nursing workforce) have advanced training and specialty certifications.

More than 20 different schools from around the region trust North Oaks to train the health care workforce of the future.

MYTH #5:
“Death Oaks”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms that North Oaks does not have a high mortality rate.

MYTH #6:
North Oaks has a high infection rate.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirm that North Oaks does not have a high hospital-acquired infection rate. North Oaks is also taking aggressive steps to address the high rate of MRSA in our community.

MYTH #7:
The wait times in the emergency department are long.

Life- or limb-threatening emergencies are always seen immediately. At times there may be longer waits for non-emergency conditions. We have developed a network of urgent care clinics that are open late and on weekends to better serve those with health problems that are not life or limb-threatening.

MYTH #8:
North Oaks is not helping improve the health of our community.

North Oaks has been recognized nationally for its innovative programs addressing antimicrobial stewardship, reducing readmissions and the use of health and business analytics to improve outcomes.

Our mission at North Oaks is to improve lives, every time and with every touch.

We strive to exceed your expectations for quality, safety and patient experience. Should we fall short of that goal, please tell us so that we can address your concerns.

Please contact us:

  • By asking for the charge nurse or nursing manager on your unit if you have a concern while you are in the hospital
  • Via email at
  • Through our Performance Management Department at (985) 230-6329
  • By calling Administration at (985) 230-6605
  • By contacting any member of our Executive Team:
    • Michele Sutton, President/CEO: (985) 230-6605
    • Michael Watkins, COO: (985) 230-7703
    • Robert Peltier, MD, Chief Medical Officer: (985) 230-6278
    • Shelly Welch, Chief Clinical Officer: (985) 230-7706
    • John Derenbecker, Chief Legal Officer: (985) 230-7579
    • Shirley Hsing, Chief Financial Officer: (985) 230-6655
    • Jeff Jarreau, Chief Human Resources Officer: (985) 230-5702
    • Percival Kane, Chief Ambulatory Officer: (985) 230-7731
    • Sybil Paulson, North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital Administrator: (985) 230-5701
    • Herbert Robinson, MD, Chief Health Informatics Officer: (985) 230-6890
    • Larry Daigle, VP, Performance Management: (985) 230-6329
    • Tracy Randazzo, VP, Strategy/Outreach: (985) 230-6770.

Click here, to download a PDF version of the Facts​ vs. Myths handout that was offered at the community forum.