Baton Rouge – New federal funding is now available to help existing community clinics in the Greater New Orleans area expand their services, open satellite clinics, stay open longer hours and hire more medical staff.

This new grant awarded to the Department of Health will be used to implement the recently passed Health Care Reform Act by expanding access to community clinics and services throughout New Orleans neighborhoods.  These expanded services will include medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, oral health care and optometric health care.

The funding will allow for the development of medical homes (as outlined in the Health Care Reform Act) throughout neighborhoods in New Orleans. Designed to serve Medicaid recipients and uninsured citizens, this primary care system of care will utilize neighborhood clinics that are linked via health information technology and who participate in standardized quality of care practices.

The grant is being provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Louisiana Department of Health and its administrative partner, the Louisiana Public Health Institute.

“This money will allow us to increase our capacity to serve people who have returned to New Orleans but are having difficulty getting health care services,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. “The goal is not only to expand services, but also to ensure these services are sustainable once the grant funding has expired.”

The “Primary Care Access Stabilization Grant” will fund grant payments to eligible primary care clinics to help stabilize or expand primary health care access in greater New Orleans communities. Existing clinics in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes are eligible to apply for these funds.

An initial $4 million of the $100 million grant is reserved for the City of New Orleans Health Department. These funds are dedicated to restoring its primary care and mental health care services in New Orleans neighborhoods. In addition to expanding clinical care, the city is also expected to use its funds to recruit physicians, dentists, registered nurses and other licensed professional health care staff for new sites planned in New Orleans East and other storm-damaged neighborhoods in New Orleans.

“The financial assistance provided by this grant for facilities that are already overburdened is a tremendous relief to the whole system,” added Cerise.  “The emphasis on clinical services within communities will also help decrease the uninsured population’s reliance on expensive emergency room care.”

For information about applying for funds through this grant, visit the Louisiana Public Health Institute's Web site atwww.lphi.org.