The Leesville Lions Club gained knowledge of the new services provided by Alexandria Neurosurgical Clinic in Alexandria.

Dr. Paul Birinyi and Jason Cobb, CEO of Rapides Regional Medical Center, discussed the advancements the hospital has made to stay competitive and how to keep patient care local.

"It's important for us to let the communities is central Louisiana know about the things we can do and the state of the art health care that we deliver," Cobb said. "It's a small group, but it's people that know people and can get the message out. 20 can develop into 100, then to 200, then to 1,000. It's important to get in front of people and let them know. People came up to me after the meeting and said that they didn't know we did this or that. Word of mouth is the best way."

The clinic recently had a $4-5 million upgrade to expand its services to provide more precise and less invasive surgeries.

"I've never heard of a surgeon, especially straight out of training, get that type of investment from a hospital," Birinyi said. "It definitely reinvigorated me. The confidence and support the hospital has in me makes me very excited to continue to build a great program."

Included in the new services are minimally invasive spinal surgeries, complex spine deformative surgery, cervical disk replacement, deep brain stimulation, dorsal column stimulation and complex brain tumor surgery.

"Very seldom do you have to go out of central Louisiana for health care," Cobb said. "We have a great culture and patient satisfactions scores, nationally. We have a great group of employees that are dedicated to what they do in health care."

Birinyi, a Johns Hopkins' graduate, enjoys going to events to meet people so the first time a patient meets him is not in an office.

"I really like talking to people, making the local connection to the community," Birinyi said. "There's a very impersonal nature when people go the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa or travel to Houston. You're not seeing your surgeon. He's not the guy you see at the Lion's Club or go golfing with or see at the grocery store. I'm a real person, and I want people to feel comfortable sending their loved ones to me."

With the advancement and support at the clinic, Birinyi believes they can continue growing in Alexandria and in the area.

"Half our patients are leaving to go to other areas," Birinyi said. "There is a very big group that can be helped and kept locally. We have a hospital with a vision, and a network of clinics with a vision. That's key.

"I already have two or three people waiting to finish their training to come here. I'm going to start bringing them down in the next year or two. This type of equipment is exciting for any neurosurgeon."