House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and local elected officials joined St. Tammany Health System and Ochsner Health leaders on a tour showing Northshore health facilities.
St. Tammany Health System Board of Commissioners and executive team, along with state Sen. Patrick McMath, state Rep. Mark Wright of Covington, Parish President Mike Cooper, and Covington Mayor Mark Johnson joined the tour.
“We’re so grateful to share our efforts to create a healthier Northshore,” said Joan Coffman, STHS president/CEO, “and tour Congressman Scalise through our hospital, our Be Well Bus health screening unit, and St. Tammany Cancer Center, a campus of Ochsner Medical Center, which truly unifies the comprehensive program we have built here in Covington.”
Acknowledging the work of STHS’s COVID team during the tour, Scalise vowed to put his legislative weight behind the health system’s community outreach initiatives.
“You’re all pioneers. Thinking back a year and a half ago, we didn’t even really know what (COVID) was,” Scalise said. “We just appreciate the work y’all have done. Good luck and let us know what we can do on our side.”
In addition to touring the COVID unit, Scalise visited the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), its new four-story patient tower, and its New Family Center, where more than 60,000 babies have been born since St. Tammany Health System’s founding in 1954 as St. Tammany Parish Hospital.
From there, he visited the health system’s new Be Well Bus, a 40-foot, mobile health clinic custom-designed to bring a variety of cancer screenings and other preventative health procedures directly into the community.
Noting how important it is that people return to the regular health screenings they may have neglected during the pandemic, Scalise said he worked to include $1 million to help cover the cost of the bus and its programs in the latest federal appropriations bill, which recently cleared a key congressional committee but must yet be approved by the full House, Senate, and president.
The final phase of the tour was St. Tammany Cancer Center, a campus of Ochsner Medical Center, the newly opened three-story facility at Interstate 12 and Highway 21 that leverages the partnership of STHS and Ochsner to offer local residents a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care close to home.