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From a civic dream to a complete health facility, Riverside Medical Center shows what can be accomplished when citizens work together to fill a need. The initial spark came when a group of citizens from Franklinton and the western section of the parish approached the Franklinton Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recommended that a professional hospital consultant survey Franklinton and the western section of the parish to determine the medical facilities needed. The Chamber board promised the Police Jury complete support for the new hospital and upon the Chamber’s recommendation, the Washington Parish Police Jury created the hospital district and appointed the Board of Commissioners. The Board included Chairman H. D. Ellzey, N. L. Smith, Chess Jones, Ray Petit, and Stephen Richardson. Architect Clifton C. Lesseigne, of Baton Rouge, and Jesse H. Bankston as hospital consultants were selected by the Board.

After the needs and estimate of the cost for meeting these needs, a district wide bond election was called for December 12, 1961.  Property owners voted favorably, not only in popular vote, but also in property assessments. During the period of time, between the date the hospital district was created, and the tax election was held, the Board of Commissioners met with every civic club and held mass meetings in every community to explain the hospital program, the method of financing, and operations to interested citizens. In addition, a brochure on the total program was mailed to every property owner on the voting rolls of the parish. The objective of this, of course, was to inform the public as completely as possible regarding the much needed project.

The opening and dedication on Sunday, April 3, 1966, culminated many years of effort of the people to provide complete medical facilities for Franklinton and the western portion of the parish. This day marked the beginning of a new era in modern health care for Franklinton area residents. The hospital provided a 36 bed acute care facility with modern laboratory, x-ray, surgical, medical, and obstetrical care that enabled residents to “stay at home” for these services. Also, a very important contribution of the hospital was the creation of approximately 42 new jobs. Today the hospital employs over 250 people. The original active medical staff of 4 has grown to over 30.

The 1970’s brought many changes to Riverside’s physical plant and the services that were offered to its patients. Four years after opening, the Hospital’s first cardiac monitoring equipment, portable telemetry monitors were installed at Nurses’ Station I. One year later, in 1971, construction on the new enter hallway and Nurses’ Station II was completed, which increased the Hospital’s licensed capacity to 70 beds. In 1973, the first Ward Secretary class graduated 5 who were assigned to the nursing stations to organize the clerical functions of the stations. An additional room was added to the Radiology department and Radiographic fluoroscopy was begun. The first full time general surgeon was appointed to the Medical Staff, and endoscopies were added to the scope of surgical services. In 1974, the Radiology department began performing Nuclear Medicine scans. Also, a Respiratory Therapy department was created. In 1976, the second full time surgeon was appointed to the Medical Staff. In 1977, an internist joined the staff and pacemaker implementation was implemented.

A year later in 1978, a major construction project was completed. This included a 6 bed Intensive Care Unit (increasing licensed bed capacity to 76 beds); and new Emergency, Laboratory, and Radiology departments. At this same time, the services building which housed Laundry, Maintenance and Supply was also added. Ophthalmology surgical services were started when an ophthalmologist was appointed to the medical staff in 1978. And finally, in 1979 the Physical Therapy department was opened with a contract Physical Therapist supervising services.

Riverside continued through the 1980’s to improve and expand the services it offered to the Hospital Service District. Twenty-four hour emergency room coverage was implemented with emergency physicians in the Hospital 24 hours a day. In 1982, the Radiology department added Ultrasound to its’ offered services. Also, a Home Health department was created adding services such as Occupational Therapy, Social Services, and Speech Therapy. Medical Records began microfilming patient records in 1983, which allows them to be filed and maintained permanently with minimal space requirements.

1984 brought a major change in management when a hospital management company contracted with the Board of Commissioners to manage the daily operations of Riverside. Soon more new services were introduced, which included Mobile Mammography, urology and OB/GYN services.

A 6 patient renal dialysis unit was opened in 1985, offering kidney dialysis to patients who previously had to travel 20 or more miles one way – 3 to 4 days a week for their treatments. Also, in 1985, the management of the Pharmacy was contracted to a Hospital Pharmacy Management company. Mobile CT scan services were started in 1986, which made it possible for patients to avoid traveling 30+ miles for these services.

Another renovation and remodeling project was completed in 1988, which brought the hospital in compliance with the new Life Safety Code requirements; moved and remodeled Nurses’ Station I; remodeled the front lobby and refurbished some offices and patient rooms. A helicopter landing site was constructed to facilitate airlifting critical patients to other hospitals.

The 1990’s promised to provide even more services made possible by the purchase of state of the art equipment. In house mammography services were begun in 1990, as well as laparoscopic gall bladder removal. Late 1990 also brought the installation of new patient monitors for the Intensive Care Unit and in house CT scan services. This was a major step in around the clock diagnostic capabilities.

In 1994 the community supported (3 to 1) the hospital’s request for a property tax to finance the Emergency Room expansion over five years. With the passage of this tax came an increased public awareness and scrutiny of the hospital.

In 1995, the hospital Board of Commissioners voted to affiliate with East Jefferson General Hospital of Metairie, and a new CEO came aboard. In concert with EJGH, numerous improvements and new programs were implemented and the hospital began operating firmly in the black.

In 1996, the hospital acquired a new state of the art Nuclear Medicine camera and an upgrade for another Radiology camera.

In 1997, the hospital replaced the entire roof and continued renovations to patient rooms. In 1998, the parking lot was replaced with new cement lots. The Dialysis department also replaced its’ entire dialysis equipment with the acquisition of 8 new dialysis machines. Additionally, the Nuclear Medicine camera was expanded to a dual head system to accommodate the ever increasing patient volume.

In 1999, the Radiology department acquired more new equipment. Ground breaking was held for the Rehab/Dialysis Building in August 1999.

By 2000, the Radiology department was completely digital. RMC purchased a Dexa Scan to evaluate bone mineral content. Rehab purchased state of the art equipment for the new building.

July 2005, RMC changed their designation from Acute Care to a Critical Access Hospital which decreased the number of inpatient beds to 25, but allowed for higher reimbursement from the federal government.

August 2005, along with the rest of southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, RMC was victim to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. In subsequent years, this led to the hardening of exterior windows and doors through a Hazard Mitigation Grant.

In 2006, Nurses’ Station II was remodeled.

2014 brought new Imaging equipment in the Radiology department. This includes new x-ray, fluoroscopy, CT, and mammography equipment. Riverside also expanded the sleep study program, started a Cardiac Rehab program, and opened the first Cath Lab in Washington Parish. 2014 also brought the first employed full-time general surgeon at RMC. Pictured below are the Cath Lab and new CT scanner.

2015 has already seen an expansion of both the Family Care Clinic (formerly Franklinton Rural Health Clinic) and the Riverside Wound Healing Center.


Our Mission
The mission of Riverside Medical Center is to provide high quality health care services in a safe, compassionate and cost efficient environment to the residents of Washington Parish and the surrounding area.
Riverside Medical Center
Address:   1900 Main Street
                   Franklinton, Louisiana

Phone:      (985) 839-4431
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