Today, officials with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals will outline their plan to improve Medicaid today at Louisiana Technical College.
Supporters of that plan will illustrate why they think Louisiana should take steps now to manage its health care resources more effectively.
Ten health plans have submitted letters of intent supporting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Administration’s proposed system of Coordinated Care Networks. The Louisiana Association of Health Plans, the state trade association for the health benefits industry, say its members are best equipped to manage care and control costs.
“Just because a health plan is a licensed insurer doesn’t mean it doesn’t have passion to deliver good care,” explained Gil Dupré, LAHP’s chief executive officer. “I am confident that, utilizing the expertise developed serving employees and consumers in Louisiana and Medicaid recipients in other states, private health plans will be able to deliver better health outcomes for Medicaid recipients and cost savings for the state.”
Those who want to change the current system point out that Louisiana continues to rank among the worst states in measures of health outcomes, while spending more than most other states. Implementing the Coordinated Care Network program proposed by DHH would place Louisiana in the mainstream, supporters say.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at least 35 states already utilize the services of private health plans to help them coordinate care and contain costs. More than 25 million - about half of all Medicaid enrollees across the nation - are enrolled in programs similar to the coordinated care network model proposed for our state.
The DHH staff has spent the past three years studying the results in other states and incorporating “best practices” in the proposed CCN model, based on principles that have been adopted by a broad consensus of Louisiana health care groups over the past several years. From expanded coverage and improved access to care to emphasis on preventative care and transparency of costs, health plans already utilize these same health improvement principles and can provide them for Louisiana’s Medicaid program.
“Ultimately, these health plans are willing to accept accountability for meeting the program’s quality improvement goals. A key part of that accountability involves the satisfaction of enrollees and health care providers,” Dupré said.
He continued, “This is undoubtedly the reason DHH has proposed a plan that would call on health plans’ expertise in operating a CCN network. Only health plans have the care management experience needed and can provide state budget predictability.”
DHH officials will wrap up the series of statewide forums in New Orleans on Dec. 16, make any necessary adjustments based on input they received from physicians, facilities, and health plans, then present a plan to lawmakers in 2011.