Message from LDH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein
Last Wednesday was an exciting day in our efforts to transform the Medicaid program and provide better care for our recipients. We held our kickoff Making Medicaid Better Forum at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, the first of nine similar events to be held across the state in the coming weeks.
Coincidentally, Wednesday was also the day I joined legislators and physicians on the steps of the State Capitol to announce Louisiana’s grade from the March of Dimes for premature birth prevention and treatment. Sadly, our grade was an ‘F.’ Even worse, our grade has been an ‘F’ for the past several years. I always worked hard in school, so it’s hard for me to accept a failing grade, and I refuse to continue failing our most vulnerable residents with a health care system that consistently produces bad results.
To me, these events taking place on the same day was a vivid illustration of why we must do a better job providing health care for those who depend on us.
Wednesday’s forum was our first opportunity to tell stakeholders where the Department is in planning for a new Medicaid system that manages recipients’ care. More importantly, it was our chance to listen to concerns and hear feedback from recipients, medical providers, health advocates and others.
We were fortunate to have Rep. Kay Katz, chairwoman of the Louisiana House of Representatives Health & Welfare Committee, give an opening address in which she emphasized that Louisiana must do a better job providing care and stop being a state that spends a great deal of money but continuously ends up in the bottom 10 for health outcomes. We also had presentations from Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; Dr. Michael Fleming of Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and Dr. Henry Evans, Jr. of Louisiana Medical Association; Gary Jones, CEO of Vantage Health Plan; and Deputy Director Ruth Kennedy and Medical Director Dr. Rodney Wise of Louisiana’s Medicaid program. Throughout the forum, we held question-and-answer sessions to hear from the audience members.
I found everyone’s comments to be insightful, collaborative and constructive. I know Louisiana’s Medicaid program has a tremendous impact on our residents, their health care providers and our overall health system. It is obvious we must begin managing patients’ care to offer them a higher quality of life, helping them live better, stronger and healthier. As we determine the best path for managing care, I look forward to traveling the state and meeting with more stakeholders in other areas. I hope to engage as many people as possible, since we all play a role in transforming our state’s health care system, and I hope our forums are as valuable as the first one was.
As we progress with our Making Medicaid Better forums, I will share updates with you here. I also invite you to visit www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com throughout this process, where you can view our presentations, watch our forum videos, see questions and answers addressed at each forum and send us your suggestions about our care proposal. You also can e-mail us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you and sharing updates as we work toward providing quality care and better health to our citizens.
Bruce D. Greenstein
Making Medicaid Better Regional Forums
The Department of Health will host forums around the state to discuss the proposed plan for transforming Medicaid. Stakeholders and other interested parties are invited to attend, ask questions and make suggestions about this proposal for managing care for Medicaid enrollees. LDH will provide a live video feed from the forums as technology permits for those who are unable to attend in person. Please visit www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com for details on regional forums and to view materials from each forum.
Forums are scheduled in different regions on the following dates:
- Tuesday, Dec. 7 – Northeast Louisiana region
- Wednesday, Dec. 8 – Northwest Louisiana region
- Thursday, Dec. 9 – Acadiana region
- Friday, Dec. 10 – Central Louisiana region
- Monday, Dec. 13 – Northshore region
- Tuesday, Dec. 14 – Southwest Louisiana region
- Wednesday, Dec. 15 – South Central Louisiana region
- Thursday, Dec. 16 – New Orleans area
How will managing care for Medicaid enrollees be an improvement over the current fee-for-service system?
We know the current fee-for-service system is not sustainable, and it does not lead to good health outcomes. Too often, our state is ranked at the bottom of national health indicator lists, and we must change the status quo. We need health care that takes care of our patients, emphasizing preventive treatment and focusing on quality rather than quantity of procedures. Managing care is better than not managing care, and Louisiana must look at how we can do this effectively. More than 41 other states have adopted a system for managing care for Medicaid enrollees, and over and over again, this strategy has proven to produce better health outcomes at lower costs. In fact, our neighbor, Mississippi, is launching its Medicaid managed care plan in January. Fee-for-service does not allow for incentives for either the recipient or the provider. Managing care allows us to build those incentives into the system and build a healthier Louisiana.
FACT: Forty-four percent of children in Medicaid with asthma visited an emergency room last year. Asthma is a manageable disease, and the right coordination of care will prevent many unnecessary ER visits. See more facts about helping recipients at www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com.
Your feedback is important to us as we move forward in transforming Louisiana’s Medicaid program. For the latest information or to share your comments, please visit www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call toll-free 1-888-342-6207.
If you would like to receive the Making Medicaid Better newsletter by e-mail, please sign up here.