St. Francis Medical Center Formally Dedicates Pediatric Unit as St. Francis Pediatrics, a Partner of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital


St. Francis Medical Center Formally Dedicates Pediatric Unit as St. Francis Pediatrics, a Partner of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital

From left: Dr. Mitra Green, St. Francis; Dr. Shaun Kemmerly, OLOLCH; Dr. Meredith Hitch, OLOLCH; Dr. Chico Rosales, St. Francis; Kristin Wolkart, CEO St. Francis and Scott Wester, CEO Our Lady of the Lake

Today, St. Francis Medical Center formally rededicated its pediatric unit as St. Francis Pediatrics, a partner of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. This rededication demonstrates an important step forward in the journey to improve the health of Louisiana’s children. 

St. Francis Pediatrics is the first hospital-based partner of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The partnership is a clinical collaboration that connects the best of local and regional resources and builds upon existing linkages between St. Francis and Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. It will allow for extended expertise in the hospital as well as specialty clinics and community programs that will improve pediatric health in Louisiana. The partnership creates a model of coordinated healthcare whose vision is to improve the overall health of our children across the state.

“This partnership builds upon a strong existing relationship between Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center, both organizations serving under the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. Critical care intensivists have already rotated here for several years, and this collaboration will provide continuous support for clinical care, collaboration and education” said Kristin Wolkart, chief executive officer, St. Francis Medical Center. 

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is pursuing a bold vision to create a healthier Louisiana for our children to thrive and lead active, healthy lives. Patients will benefit from this partnership by having greater access to physicians and providers specifically trained to care for children close to home; by having more connectivity between Monroe-based providers and Baton Rouge-based providers; and updated hospital amenities and technology, such as telemedicine, that enhances patient care.

“The partnership offers greater access to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital clinics, specialists and hospital; deeper knowledge sharing among physicians, nurses and administrators; greater collaboration with established community pediatricians and clinicians; and increased training opportunities among healthcare providers statewide,” said Scott Wester, chief executive officer, Our Lady of the Lake. 

In addition, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital will soon open a Pediatric Specialty Clinic in Monroe, which is the fourth such clinic to open this year extending specialty care to more children of Louisiana. Clinics have opened in Lafayette, Hammond and Gonzales. The Monroe clinic will initially provide pediatric gastroenterology services, with the intention of adding more specialties as needs arise. Meredith Hitch, MD, and Elizabeth McDonough, MD, both Board Certified pediatric gastroenterologists will provide services at the clinic beginning in December. 

“It’s vitally important for hospitals in Louisiana to work together to provide care for kids. If we can coordinate efforts we can provide advanced care that is more efficient and safe resulting in a better experience and better outcomes for patients,” said Chico Rosales, MD, Department Chair of Pediatrics and Director of PICU, St. Francis Medical Center.

“Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital has served Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities for several decades, becoming a hub of pediatric healthcare excellence caring for more than 100,000 children each year from all parishes across Louisiana and from Mississippi and Texas. The hospital offers specialized pediatric services with more than 60 specialists in over 20 subspecialties,” said Shaun Kemmerly, MD, chief medical officer, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. “This partnership creates an even greater opportunity for our two hospitals and network of clinics to extend care to more children closer to home.”

About St. Francis Medical Center

Founded in 1913, St. Francis Medical Center has grown to become Northeast Louisiana’s largest healthcare provider and one of the largest employers in Ouachita Parish. Today, St. Francis is licensed for 550 beds, employs nearly 2,000 team members and partners with over 300 medical staff members. Our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to those most in need reaches out to 17 parishes in Louisiana and three counties in Arkansas, an area with a population exceeding 515,000 people. St. Francis Medical Center is proud to have been providing healthcare services in our community for over 100 years.