The Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) today announced solutions to address a $186.1 million state general fund mid-year deficit. The internal solutions identified by LDH prevent provider rate cuts, program eliminations and ensure access to care for thousands of Louisiana residents.
"Our first priority is always ensuring access to care for Louisiana residents enrolled in Medicaid, those served by waivers and others served by our various public health programs across the state," said LDH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "By identifying internal solutions to address our mid-year deficit, we ensure access to care without passing the burden on to providers or hospitals and without additional funding from the State."
At the end of each fiscal quarter, LDH evaluates program costs to determine if it has the needed level of funding for the remainder of the year. If a deficit is identified, LDH looks for additional funding and at program changes that will fix the shortfall. This fiscal year, the deficit is $186.1 million in state general fund dollars; including federal match, the total deficit is $516.1 million. The LDH Medicaid shortfall is the result of:
- increased enrollment in Bayou Health, the Medicaid dental program and the statewide expansion of the Coordinated System of Care;
- an increase in the cost of the Medicare Part B program mandated by the federal government; and
- a lack of funding for continuing waiver slots past funding for the first year.
LDH is solving the Medicaid shortfall using several internal solutions, including:
- the carryforward and excess authority of $128.1 million from both state mental health hospitals and the LSU hospitals from previous years that were not anticipated in the 2016 fiscal year;
- improved LDH collection practices and increased enrollment that resulted in an increase of $53.5 million in provider fees paid to LDH by the Bayou Health plans, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities and pharmacy provider fees;
- freezing new waiver slots, except for pending offers and those that are needed to transition individuals out of institutional care or for emergency circumstances to prevent recipients from entering a 24-hour facility; and
- reducing the cost of the Hospital Service District program by $4.5 million as a result of the privatization of West Jefferson Medical Center.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.