Simply Retail -- Leaders in Healthcare Retailing -- Partners with West Jefferson Medical Center to Open Retail Locations in New Orleans

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Simply Retail helps West Jefferson Medical Center implement new and expanded retail, affirming the hospital as a leader in patient care and offering hope to the city.

West Jefferson Medical Center, a community service district hospital in Jefferson Parish, has increased its efforts to respond to the needs of patients and staff after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by recently opening three new retail locations within its facility. Partnering with Simply Retail, the pioneer and industry leader in healthcare retail, West Jefferson now features an expanded gift shop and floral shop and is currently constructing a women's & children's shop, which is slated to open in early May. These new additions to the flourishing Medical Center continue to affirm its position as one of the nation's leaders in patient care.

One of the region's Top 3 employers as recently ranked by New Orleans Publishing Group, West Jefferson Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, full service medical center located on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. It boasts a knowledgeable, compassionate staff offering comprehensive programs and services in preventative care, 451 beds, fitness and wellness programs, acute care, skilled nursing rehabilitation and home health services across the continuum of patient care. West Jefferson continues to address many challenges in the wake of Katrina including nursing recruitment and staffing as well as a growing issue of uncompensated care.

"Simply Retail is honored to partner with West Jefferson Medical Center on these important new retail initiatives. These new retail locations are just the beginning of an incredibly positive experience for West Jefferson's patients, staff and visitors," said Kathy Husu, Vice President of Consulting Services for Simply Retail. "The goal for Simply Retail is to integrate retail operations with patient care, seamlessly. We achieve this through highly customized, annuity-based, patient focused retail systems. Offering this level of convenience is an enormous benefit to patients, as well as caregivers, physicians, visitors and employees. Customers can get exactly what they need, when they need it, from the place they trust most -- the hospital or clinic."

"The hospital family, including our volunteers, and community have been behind this project," said A. Gary Muller, President and CEO of West Jefferson Medical Center. "I receive positive feedback each day from our employees and patients about the retail experiences our team is working hard to provide."

Tim Bracey, Senior Director of West Jefferson Medical Center, believes this new space is a win-win for the center and its patients, as it will bring in impressive revenues for the center's bottom line and also provide more convenience and a higher level of care to the community. "Louisiana remains in recovery mode from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which have profoundly affected healthcare and life in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast region," Bracey said. These shops offer an upbeat and positive sign of our recovery efforts. They also bring a projected contribution to the hospital's bottom line, which is especially important during these challenging financial times." So far, the numbers are demonstrating tremendous growth and success. The gift shop's gross sales are already 37 percent higher than last year's, when they were limited to a 500-square-foot gift shop.

"Simply Retails has partnered with multiple hospitals across the country to strategically develop, open and run retail stores," Husu explained. "Healthcare retailing is proving to be exactly what we predicted -- a patient-first, revenue generating, can't believe we didn't do this sooner business strategy."

As New Orleans works to rebuild itself from the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina, the new retail space at West Jefferson offers hope to the community that the city will be revived and flourish as it always had before that devastating hurricane season. "With all of the struggles that we continue to go through in the aftermath of Katrina, building these stores has brought a breath of fresh air to our center and the community," Bracey said.

About Simply Retail
Simply Retail, Inc. was formed in 1994 and is the nation's leading provider of Healthcare Retail. Based in Minneapolis, Simply Retail is a retail consultancy and management company with expertise in both retail planning and implementation. Simply Retail integrates retail operations with patient care through customized Retail Systems. For more information, visit http://www.simplyretailinc.com or contact Anni Davis, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Simply Retail at 612-659-8200 ext. 23.

About West Jefferson Medical Center
West Jefferson Medical Center is a not-for-profit community hospital located in Marrero, Louisiana, on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish. Centers of Excellence include its Neuroscience Institute which includes the region's only dedicated Stroke Unit, Louisiana's first CyberKnife and the region's premier business and industry program and Aero-medcial flight service, Air Care. West Jefferson's Community Cancer Program was recently surveyed by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and received Commendation. Outpatient programs include Aquatic Therapy with a large SwimEx therapy pool. Through the vision of a dedicated Board of Directors and Senior Staff, West Jefferson Medical Center continues to strengthen its community base while maintaining its mission and values. Dedicated to considerate and respectful quality health care, the institution welcomes patient, family, and visitor feedback regarding programs, services, and community needs. West Jefferson Medical Center provides services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age or economic status.

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