This October, Ochsner welcomes a full-time pediatrician to the Central location. It’s news like this that Dr. Keith Holmes hopes will motivate Central residents to stay local with their healthcare needs.
“Short of having a hospital in Central, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have all the other specialties of medical care. We are a big enough population that if we were to make a concerted effort to get people to stay in Central, they (specialists) would come to us,” Dr. Holmes said, “We should encourage people, where possible, when possible, choose the pharmacies in Central, choose the physical therapy centers in Central. Just choose Central.”
Dr. Holmes chose Central nearly twenty-six years ago as the place to raise and educate his five children and eventually as his place of work. For the past five years, Dr. Holmes has served as the Primary Care Provider specializing in Internal Medicine at the Central Ochsner location. Prior to Ochsner, Dr. Holmes noted that Central was vastly underserved in medical care.
“Seven years ago, there were only four primary care physicians for 25,000 or 30,000 people,” he said, “There ought to have been about 10 primary care physicians.” He sees roughly 25 patients a day. “Probably about 3,000 people call me their doctor,” Dr. Holmes said.
Located in the front of Central Park Professional Plaza, Central’s Ochsner Health Center offers care five days a week in primary care, cardiology, neurology, laboratory and imaging services.
As a primary care physician at the Central location, Dr. Holmes’ medical philosophy is to care as much as possible for the needs of his patients before sending them to other specialty doctors.
“The only time I send somebody to a subspecialist is because the care exceeds what I have the ability to do,” Dr. Holmes said, “I’m just a big believer in doing whatever I can possibly do for the patient so they don’t have to go to five different doctors.”
As part of a larger health system, Ochsner hopes to provide excellence and compassion in medical care. “We try to be all-inclusive from primary care to specialty care to even tertiary care, all within the same organization,” Dr. Holmes explained, “We all share one electronic medical record. So whether you’re seeing me in my clinic or going to the emergency room or going to an urgent care clinic, it’s all within the Ochsner framework. Everybody has complete access.”
While most people might automatically go to the emergency room, Dr. Holmes said most of those procedures can be done at the Ochsner clinic in Central. “We do lacerations. We drain abscesses. Most people think you have to go to Baton Rouge, but you don’t.”
As a nonprofit, Dr. Holmes explained, Ochsner has more available monetary resources, which allows contribution back the City of Central. “Ochsner very much tries to invest into the communities that it serves,” Dr. Holmes said, “they don’t just try to turn the dollar and make a buck.” Ochsner truly strives to improve the health of the population that it serves.
Fortunately, Ochsner escaped the floodwaters this past August. “The biggest challenge has been personnel,” Dr. Holmes said, “We had several of our workers that lost everything. We were out for about three days until we had enough personnel to open the clinic.” As the community rebuilds from the flood, Dr. Holmes believes Ochsner will grow slowly, along with the city it serves. He predicts a 30 percent increase in primary care physicians over the next five years. “I would love to see a dialysis unit in Central as well,” he added.
“I’ve made three really good decisions in my life,” Dr. Holmes concluded, “One is to marry the woman I’ve married, the second was to move here to Central, and the third was to join Ochsner clinic. I’m here to serve Central and use the vehicle of Ochsner clinic to do that.”