In October 2022, Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care and Specialty Extended Care Hospital in Monroe, La., held a dedication ceremony for a special individual who played an important role in both healthcare organizations.
Dr. James Eppinette served as a hospitalist for both St. Francis Medical Center and Specialty Extended Care Hospital, and as the medical director for Louisiana Hospice from 2010 until his passing in 2018. His life of service was memorialized with the dedication of a room in his honor – a place that will provide a more homelike environment for the patients in the hospital’s inpatient hospice program.
In 2021, St. Francis approached Cleta Munholland, administrator at Specialty Hospital, to explore ways that LHC Group could help with serving a large number of patients and families in their facility who needed the support of hospice care.
The LHC Group team went to work. Led by Marie Clark, the agency’s executive director, they developed an inpatient hospice program to help the company’s hospice agencies and partnered long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) work together in providing hospice care for those in need. This helped open up more beds for the acute care hospitals to admit patients needing treatment, rather than holding them in the ER.
And at Specialty Hospital in Monroe, the room dedicated in Dr. Eppinette’s name is a reminder of just how proud he would be of the tremendous teamwork and effort. Dr. Eppinette inspired life in so many facing the most difficult of circumstances. He had a servant’s heart and was a living example of the kind of person-centered service LHC Group provides for patients and communities.
Many of Dr. Eppinette’s friends and colleagues were a part of the dedication, and here – in their own words – is how they felt about honoring his memory:
“Dr. Eppinette was an amazing person, doctor, and family man. He always took the time to show people he cared. Everyone who knew him loved him.”
Marie Clark, RN, MS, CHC, CMCN
Executive Director – Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care of Monroe
“James Eppinette was a good doctor, a true gentleman, and it was my pleasure to have known him.”
Dr. Charles Mason
St. Francis Medical Center
“Dr. James Eppinette was a well-respected physician in the community. When he joined the hospitalist group at St. Francis, he became an integral part of the healthcare team at Specialty Hospital. He had a great bedside manner, was humble, kind, and treated everyone with courtesy and respect. His sense of humor will never be forgotten, and he is truly missed by all of us who had the pleasure to work with him.”
Administrator – Specialty Hospital
“Dr. Eppinette always put the patient first and lived a life of service to others.”
Dr. Kerry Anders
St. Francis Medical Center
“Dr. Eppinette was a strong supporter of the hospice benefit and spent many years as part of our hospice family. He provided compassionate end-of-life care for the patients and families we served in the Monroe area. His passion for quality patient care and for our staff is greatly missed.”
Lori Stagg, RN, MSN
Vice President Clinical Operations-Hospice & Palliative Care – LHC Group