Case Study: Managing COVID-19 in a Rural Community: St. James Parish Hospital, Lutcher, Louisiana

St. James Parish Rural Case Study ImageIn rural Lutcher, Louisiana, St. James Parish Hospital anticipated the dangers of the pandemic and began preparing for COVID-19 and its spread throughout the community. Early on, the hospital connected with community partners to share information. Building on existing relationships with local nursing homes and the sheriff’s department, the hospital hosted meetings to dive deeper into what enhanced infection control could look like at the facilities. While these community groups had worked together to provide care and complete lab work for their respective populations, the conversations during COVID-19 reflected a new way of working together that strengthened the working relationships and offered new opportunities.

Conversations with community partners continued as the pandemic began to escalate in Louisiana and across the country. Mary Ellen Pratt, St. James Parish Hospital CEO, joined local government leaders in regular press conferences that were posted to the hospital’s Facebook page. Some of these events were recorded live so community residents could ask questions in real time. In addition, the local newspaper offered to transcribe the press conferences so that older adults without access to Facebook and other technology would receive the information.

What started as a plan to share expertise and slow the virus’s spread in the community led to ongoing, well-received Facebook Live press conferences and conversations with leaders from local government, the hospital and other community organizations.

A Q&A with Mary Ellen Pratt and another rural health care CEO provides further details about managing COVID-19 in a rural community.
May 28, 2020

Related Resources

Since the first COVID-19 cases were diagnosed and the pandemic changed the ways in which patients were able to access traditional health care settings,…
A strong and reliable medical supply chain is a critical and integral component to delivering safe and effective high quality care to patients; however, it has…
Advancing Health Podcast
On this podcast AHA offers part one of two podcasts on rebuilding maternity services at a critical access hospital. Cristen Page, M.D., executive dean of UNC…
Webinar Recordings
Roslyne Schulman, AHA’s director of policy, is joined by senior officials from the FEMA to discuss FEMA’s updated policies on medical care eligible for public…
AHA’s Future of Rural Health Care Task Force has released a report with recommendations for long-range solutions for improving rural health and health care in…
Other Resources
Photo Credit: Ochsner Health