Expanding access to affordable coverage statewide, providing medical homes, and creating an academic center to compete with the nation's best teaching and research hospitals are the three main objectives of a healthcare-improvement initiative that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal discussed at a news conference.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a white paper about the initiative, which said it is the result of several years of analysis and recommendations from healthcare providers and advocacy groups, as well as the state Legislature's Health Care Reform Act of 2007 at the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge.
To expand access, there will be a statewide expansion of Medicaid eligibility for parents and caretakers of Medicaid-eligible children who live at or below 50% of the federal poverty level or individuals diagnosed with chronic diseases. The "medical homes" model will offer consumers choice, allowing their Medicaid dollars to follow them to the network they choose. And in the plan for a new academic medical centera project the state is working on with the Louisiana State University system and Tulane Universitythere will be an independent board of directors composed of 11 members with "experience and expertise in governing a sophisticated healthcare enterprise," according to the plan. -- by Jessica Zigmond