FORT POLK, La. – Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital formally opened the doors to the current facility in 1983. The hospital was named in honor of New Orleans native, Brigadier General Stanhope Bayne-Jones, the world acclaimed bacteriologist responsible for the control of typhus in Europe at the conclusion of World War II.
Ground was broken for the current facility in 1978 with a modern design for the time. Much has changed in the 39 years since BJACH treated the first patients at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana. To maintain the excellent quality of health care the hospital is known for, infrastructure investments, renovations and new equipment have been made and procured over the past several years.
BJACH has recently completed over $10 million worth of projects at the hospital and the dental clinic to improve services for Soldiers, their Families and beneficiaries. Projects include renovations to the mixed medical surgical ward; architectural and heating, ventilation and air conditioning repairs, as well as equipment upgrades for the Chesser Dental Clinic; an improved serving line for the dining facility; a new nursing station for the labor, delivery, and post-partum department; new floors in radiology along with a new MRI scanner; and electrical, plumbing and other repairs to the post veterinary clinic.
Maj. Markeisha Hubbard, chief nurse in charge of the mixed medical surgical department said the entire department has been completely renovated.
“We have state-of-the-art patient rooms, nurses’ station, and equipment,” she said “Our patient experience has improved drastically due to welcoming colors, spacious rooms and the modern construction style.”
Hubbard said the employees are excited that they have a designated break room, private lockers and a conference room to hold monthly trainings and briefings.
“We are now operating in a safe environment,” she said, “We no longer need to store our supplies and equipment in patient rooms. Every piece of equipment can be easily located and secured.”
Hubbard said her team appreciates the renovation in their department and the rest of the facility.
Capt. Rebecca Prince, chief of nutrition care said the serving line and the interior of BJACH dining facility have been upgraded for efficiency, safety and service.
“The BJACH Bistro is the communal hub and largest conference space at hospital for patients and employees,” she said. “The DFAC recently underwent renovations for a new stainless steel serving line that allows staff to easily clean and maintain the most touched piece of equipment in the dining facility. Stainless steel is highly resistant against corrosion, fluctuations in extreme temperatures, it’s durable, hygienic, and aesthetically pleasing to guests.”
Prince said the dining facility is often used as a conference space for large gatherings at the hospital.
“Our DFAC is used regularly for awards ceremonies, the monthly installation medical council meetings and special events for our organization,” she said. “In addition to new paint, we’ve invested in technology upgrades to improve overall functionality and experience for all visitors and staff.”
Maj. Ashley Slack, CNOIC for the labor, delivery and post-partum department said the nurses’ station was recently renovated.
“Our new nurses’ station is open and spacious,” she said. “As you approach the desk, you immediately notice the brightness of the modern grey and white color scheme and natural wood tones. Some of our nurses assisted in the design and color for the final production.”
Slack said her clinical staff appreciates the functional organization that supports their department’s fast paced environment.
Col. Anita Kimbrough, commander of the U.S. Army Dental Health Activity, Fort Polk, said the renovations at Chesser Dental Clinic were a long time coming.
“There are a lot of patients empaneled to Chesser who had to travel to another clinic across post for care,” she said. “The newly renovated facility is conveniently located to the 519th Military Police Battalion, 46th Engineer Battalion and the 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment “Geronimo” Soldiers who live and work near the facility. This clinic also serves Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison, Operations Group, DENTAC, 32nd Hospital Center, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and 705th Ordnance Company.”
Kimbrough said the increased capabilities at the facility will improve access to care for Soldiers with the new state-of-the-art equipment.
“In addition to the new equipment, we’ve added new paint and decor to improve the patients overall experience,” she said. “Visiting the dentist can be stressful and our patients have remarked about the calming ambiance of the clinic.”
The most recent improvement at BJACH was the installation of an improved MRI scanner.
Sergeant First Class Robert Cooke, noncommissioned officer in charge of the radiology department said the new magnet has a larger tunnel diameter that will improve patient comfort.
“The speed and image quality have been improved allowing for less time in the magnet and higher resolution images,” he said. “This top of the line MRI allows us to better serve the patients of our community and provide the best care possible.”
Kim Duncan, facilities manager for BJACH, said over the past five years the hospital has invested more than $50 million in improvements, renovations and upgrades to the hospital and outlining clinics.
“We aren’t finished yet,” she said. “We have one project that will start in June and are in the development process for upgrades to the hospital cooling tower system which is projected for award later this summer. We have a renewal plan for the DFAC and laboratory in the queue projected for the next two to three years. These projects will improve the overall experience for Soldiers, Families, beneficiaries and staff.”
Duncan said the improvements made and those being planned will bring BJACH up to the 2022 standards of medical facilities across the country and improve the patient and staff experience.