NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It's been years in the making and Saturday the University Medical Center New Orleans finally opened it's doors to patients.
The new state of the art facility had patients lined up to get in on day one. A team of people pitched in; doctors, nurses, medical students, even volunteers, to move 131 patients from Interim LSU Hospital to the new University Medical Center Saturday morning.
"We have practiced, and practiced and practiced this move over four times in the past month," UMC Interim Chief Medical Officer Peter DeBlieux, M.D., said.
"They got me straight in the room and of course very comfortable. The second I got here, it was just wonderful," patient Rachel Alcina said.
The 2.3 million square foot medical complex is the anchor of the BioMedical District of New Orleans.
"These are higher levels of healthcare that we're offering our patients," DeBlieux, M.D., said.
Located in Mid-City, the medical district will be a one-stop shop for patients. Before, people had to visit doctor's offices and clinics spread out across the city.
"Everything will be on this campus," UMC Senior Vice President Lisa Napier explained. "It will make our patients process and our patient focused care much simpler."
So many flocking to one area for care will have a ripple effect through the neighborhood.
Adam York opened The Big Cheezy in March, located around the corner from the BioMedical District. "We've been getting a lot of groups of doctors, nurses," York said.
Now that the hospital is open to patients, York predicts big things saying, "We're anticipating a lot more people. Hopefully our business will double."
Hospital representatives say the community has needed a state of the art medical facility for quite some time, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed Charity Hospital. They believe this building will provide it for them. It's three times the size of Interim LSU Hospital, almost every patient will have their own room, there are more operating and exam rooms and it houses new technology to help with patient care, that can't be found anywhere else in the region.
The hospital will host an official ribbon cutting opening ceremony Wednesday.