Top hospital personnel provide look at Acadia General

Sandy Melancon, far left, and President Mary Zaunbrecher, far right, welcomed personnel from Acadia General Hospital to talk about the changes going on at the hospital since Lafayette General Hospital took over in June. They were, from left, Associate Administrator Zach Landry, CFO Charmaine R. Vidrine and CEO Heather L. Harper.

Change, growth continuing at AGH

Jeannine LeJeune is the online editor for the Crowley Post-Signal. She can be reached at or 337-783-3450.

 If people were looking for change when Lafayette General Hospital took over Crowley’s hospital, they got it as Acadia General Hospital has, and continues to push a change in the culture of the hospital.

The hospital has started with making sure all of its employees follow the Standards of Behavior — SERVICE (Supportiveness, Etiquette, Respect, Vibrancy, Integrity, Communication and Excellence).

“People ask ‘What’s the biggest change since Lafayette General took over?’,” said Acadia General Hospital Chief Executive Officer Heather Harper as she addressed members of the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday.

“Well, to see what’s changed, I want you to walk into our hospital. Come in and see it, feel it. It’s a culture attitude.”

Echoing her point was Chief Financial Advisor Charmaine Vidrine who said that the people are happy, the staff is happy, everyone’s happy and that everyone is invited to come see the hospital — even if they aren’t sick.

Harper also highlighted the many services that the hospital continues to offer including wound care and hyperbolics, the Cancer Center of Acadiana and more.

“We have a great hospital,” she said. “We’re just changing how we do some things.”

Harper added that the hope is to bring in more services in the future to help treat the health care needs of Acadia Parish and the surrounding area.

As she continued highlighting what Acadia General Hospital has to offer, she also put a spotlight on one of the hospital’s newer acquisitions, a daVinci surgery robot that was added to the hospital’s arsenal only a few years ago.

“I came from a bigger hospital and we didn’t even have (a daVinci robot),” said Harper. “I’m very proud to have that at our facility.”

Since the takeover, positive changes, and not just in attitude, have been occurring for Acadia General as well. The hospital is retaining about 10-15 percent more of local patients that used to hop on the interstate to seek medical treatment, according to Harper.

And, as far as the emergency room, changes are still being worked on and evaluated, including making sure the right people are working there.

Harper explained that they are moving in the right direction with things such as wait times, but with an uptick in patients, it is all taking time.

In the future, Harper said she would maybe like to see redoing the emergency room as well as other parts of the hospital, but all of that will take time. In the interim, the hospital is also looking at the possibility of adding an urgent care facility to help with the emergency room.

Harper also promoted the two recently announced new surgeons for Acadia General Hospital, including Crowley’s own Maxie Trahan, M.D. 

She was quick, however, to point out that she doesn’t deserve accolades there. It was, in fact, the American Legion and Vidrine who oversaw the return of Trahan. Both he and Jimmy W. Shrasek, M.D., will begin their work here in August.

Acadia General Hospital employs over 300 people and is the second-largest private employer in the parish, just behind the Acadia Parish School Board.

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