Ochsner Health : The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities

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With a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and heart transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report.

The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including over 700 clinical studies.

It has more than 34,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 40 hospitals and more than 300 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls.

When we dug deep into the values and history of Ochsner Health and talked to Warner L. Thomas, the President and CEO of the company, we got to know a lot of amazing things about it, continue further reading to find them out.

Q.Shed some light on the history of Ochsner Health and how it started.

The history of Ochsner tells the fascinating story about how the five founders overcame opposition from the New Orleans medical community in the early years and later joined Ochsner Clinic to the Ochsner Foundation Hospital to become the standard for medical care in New Orleans and south Louisiana.

When Alton Ochsner and four colleagues opened New Orleans’ first multi-specialty group practice in 1942, they envisioned providing residents of the city with the highest quality medical care delivered with an unwavering attention to the needs of patients.

They had a vision for a model of care that harnessed the expertise of a team of doctors to make sure patients received individualized, comprehensive care.

Q. How Alton Ochsner and his 4 other partners thought of starting an organization and what was his initiative towards health that gave birth to Ochsner Health? What was the aim behind it?

Our Mission, Vision and Values guide our decisions, inspire our actions, and influence our relationships with our patients, colleagues and communities. With the mission of serving, healing, educating and innovating, our vision lies in inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. We value our enduring beliefs and inspired behaviors.

Q. How under your surveillance has Ochsner Health developed and grew?

I was named President and CEO of Ochsner Health in 2012 after previously serving as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1998-2012. Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit academic health system.

Today, Ochsner employs 25,000 employees and more than 1,300 employed physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. The system coordinates and provides clinical and hospital patient care across the Gulf South region through its 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers.

Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across two adult specialty categories and two pediatric specialties and every year cares for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.

Q. How did Ochsner Health manage to expand its reach in recent years? What has made it possible to support and stand Ochsner Health as an independent global destination for healthcare.

Ochsner has expanded across Louisiana and the Gulf South to become a national and global destination for healthcare. The system’s strategy revolves around supporting the growing needs of the patient population and providing specialty services where and when patients need it. Some of this is accomplished in partnership with other strong healthcare organizations across the Gulf South, and provides the opportunity for Ochsner to scale patient- centered technology and other solutions to bring advanced care closer to home.

Our team has been instrumental in developing a population health focus at Ochsner, delivering programs and resources that empower patients to effectively manage chronic conditions while also maintaining focus on preventive measures, screenings and education to help people stay well and avoid preventable disease. With the help and unaltered support of my team I worked to launch innovationOchsner in 2015, an Ochsner lab designed to create health advancements to address national issues including chronic disease management, as well as to support and partner with companies working to revolutionize patient-centered care. Internally, we have also spearheaded the creation of the Ochsner Learning Institute which provides free professional education for all Ochsner leaders to better prepare them to confront challenges, seek opportunity and ignite enthusiasm around best practices in healthcare.

Q. What is the aim and strategies for the future of the organization and the amendments to improve the services in healthcare?

Ochsner Health has announced a bold vision to improve the health of Louisiana. We will embark on this major initiative to improve the health of the State. It is our goal to improve the health of our State and citizens and to be a catalyst to move our State ranking to 40 by 2030. It will take a new and innovative approach and we are committed to leading these efforts!!!

Too many health care workers are suffering from burnout and emotional stress, yet they’re less likely to receive care due to barriers such as difficulty accessing care and social stigma.

It’s my hope that Ochsner Health’s programs aimed at fostering workplace wellness, which will be supported by these funds, will help to promote the well-being of those who have made so many sacrifices to keep our communities healthy.

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