Louisiana's efforts to move more individuals with developmental disabilities out of congregate living and back into the home with supports actually started pretty late compared to the rest of the country.
In the 1980s when other states were beginning to shut down their large, state-run facilities as part of the national de-institutionalization movement, Louisiana was still building. Only in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina forced the shutdown of the New Orleans metropolitan facility did the state start ramping up its de-institutionalizing efforts.
This is the first of a two-part series exploring the progress of that effort over the years since.
The state legislature’s Joint Insurance Committee met Wednesday to discuss the Affordable Care Act and two crucial, yet voluntary, measures: setting up state health insurance exchanges and expanding Medicaid.
At that meeting a representative from the Public Affairs Research Council said Louisiana doesn’t have enough information to make a truly informed decision on implementing the healthcare reform law.
PAR’s Principle Health Advisor Don Gregory recently authored a study about the research done so far on the implications of expanding Medicaid in Louisiana. He says other states have worked to figure out not just the costs, but also the benefits of insuring the uninsured.
Almost $83 million in cuts to healthcare programs and services went into effect Friday to shore up a mid-year deficit in the state budget. These are separate from a previous round of cuts made in July.
The latest round of reductions includes cuts to services for at-risk children and low-income moms, as well as a one percent drop in the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary Medicaid services.
Nearly $52 million in state cuts to Medicaid services go into effect Friday, Feb. 1. The reductions are part of the Dept. of Health and Hospitals’ response to a mid-year shortfall in Louisiana’s general fund.
The cuts include the elimination of dental benefits for pregnant women and a healthy parenting program for first-time mothers who qualify for Medicaid. Additionally, the rate paid to hospitals and physicians for non-primary care services through Medicaid will be dropped by 1 percent.
When the federal government reduced its funding of Medicaid in Louisiana, the LSU charity hospital system took the brunt of the $152 million in cuts. LSU’s medical students, for whom the charity hospitals are a training ground, have been caught in the tumult.