Baton Rouge-The Department of Health has unveiled an online, searchable system that makes the Department’s contracts accessible to the public.

This database is a product of Executive Order BJ 2008-2, which requires state agencies to pursue a higher level of transparency and accountability in state government. The order aims to give the public greater accessibility in viewing how public funds are allocated and spent.

The order directed all state agencies to "issue annual public reports on-line of all state grants and contracts by funding source, agency, parish, and type of service provided." LDH worked quickly to assemble a team and provide this valuable information to the public.

Led by LDH Undersecretary Charles Castille, the multi-disciplinary team worked cooperatively with the Division of Administration, another state agency, to assemble the data.

According to LDH Secretary Alan Levine, developing this Web site was no small task, but a necessary and worthwhile endeavor.

"Governor Jindal has made it clear he wants transparency at all levels of government," said Secretary Levine. "Putting it simply, this is just the right thing to do, and it’s only the first step."

In addition to this action, the administration successfully sought legislative approval of SB 287 and SB 337, bills which will lead to unparalleled transparency in Louisiana's healthcare system. These bills require the publishing, online, of health care quality and cost information.

The new contracts Web site is comprehensive, providing the data required in the Executive Order as well as the contract amounts and the beginning and ending dates of the contracts. The database will be updated monthly during the first three months of the fiscal year (July, August and September) and quarterly thereafter. This schedule will accurately reflect the changes in the yearly contract cycle.

The Executive Order also includes mandates for improving communications between agency Information Technology departments, creating an online state spending database, and enhancing transparency in the state’s regulatory processes. LDH will continue its work to improve the site to include as much information as can be assembled, even if not required by the executive order.

The online system can be easily accessed by clicking on the "DHH Contracts Online" icon on the LDH home page at www.dhh.la.gov  or by going directly to http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/apps/apps-103/ContractsOnLine/index.asp .

-end-