This is Public Health

Insurance

“The uninsured Louisiana residents who would benefit from the federal expansion of Medicaid are often described as a lump sum, just one big number. They are, of course, tens of thousands of individuals. And they are working as waitresses, retail sales clerks, bookkeepers, janitors, daycare workers and in other “occupations that Louisiana residents rely on,” according to a new study from Families USA.

The study, which is based on census data, lists the top nine occupations in Louisiana that would benefit from the Medicaid expansion: food service, sales, construction, cleaning and maintenance, office support, personal care, transportation, production and health care support. These are jobs that touch all of our lives.

Those nine categories include an estimated 171,000 Louisiana residents who are working but uninsured. Another 30,000 uninsured residents hold other types of jobs, the study found.”

To read the full editorial from the Times-Picayune, click here.

 

ACA

Many HealthCare.gov customers will face higher costs next year, the Obama administration acknowledged Thursday in a report that shows average premiums rising modestly.

However, officials said millions of consumers who are currently enrolled can mitigate the financial consequences if they are willing to shop around for another plan in a marketplace that’s becoming more competitive.

Click here to read the full article from NOLA.com/Times-Picayune.

Hospital

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) recently announced 35 total WellSpots across the state. WellSpots are places and spaces that have made sustainable changes to make it easier for Louisiana residents aimed at improving health outcomes. The Department also announced the launch of a new website at WellAheadLa.com that makes it easy for users to find WellSpots in their community.

Of the 35 current WellSpots, the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge is the first hospital to receive a Level One designation, which is the highest level. Xavier University in New Orleans was the first university to receive the WellSpot designation, followed by the Our Lady of the Lake College. The full list of WellSpots is available below and all are searchable on the new website.

Read the full story from the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans here.

ACA

Thirty Louisiana health agencies have been awarded $6.6 million in federal dollars to expand primary care services in neighborhoods.

The funding is part of $295 million awarded to health centers nationally under the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Obamacare.

Grantees include seven agencies in New Orleans, two in Jefferson Parish and two in Baton Rouge. Among the health centers getting the money in the New Orleans area will be those run by Daughters of Charity, Excelth Inc., Common Ground Health Clinic, MQV Community Development Corp., New Orleans AIDS Task Force and St. Thomas Community Health Center. The City of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish have awardees, as well as Jefferson Community Health Care Centers in Westwego.

Click here to read the full story from NOLA.com/Times-Picayune.

 

Insurance

A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, significantly fewer working-age adults are uninsured than just before the sign-up period began, and many have used their new coverage to obtain needed care.

The uninsured rate for people ages 19 to 64 declined from 20 percent in the July-to-September 2013 period to 15 percent in the April-to-June 2014 period. An estimated 9.5 million fewer adults were uninsured. Young men and women drove a large part of the decline: the uninsured rate for 19-to-34-year-olds declined from 28 percent to 18 percent, with an estimated 5.7 million fewer young adults uninsured. By June, 60 percent of adults with new coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid reported they had visited a doctor or hospital or filled a prescription; of these, 62 percent said they could not have accessed or afforded this care previously.

Click here to read the full article and view the Infographic.

LPHI Color (high resolution)

The Louisiana Clinical Data Research Network (LACDRN) was recently approved for a funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to develop and expand a health data network that will be part of PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered National Clinical Research Network. The LACDRN is one of 29 such networks that were approved nation-wide for a total of approximately $93.5 million from PCORI on Dec. 17, 2013, to form this new national resource that aims to boost the efficiency of health research.

The LACDRN is a partnership between the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Tulane University. This project, including its requested budget of $6.9 million, is approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract. During the next 18 months, this collaborative partnership will work together to build an infrastructure for clinical research that may benefit millions of patients in Louisiana. Additionally, the team will advance the capacity to conduct efficient clinical research on two highly prevalent health conditions, obesity and diabetes, along with multiple associated comorbidities, sickle cell disease, and some rare cancers.

“We are thrilled to receive this PCORI award,” said Dr. Anjum Khurshid, Principal Investigator and Director of Health Systems at LPHI. “The LACDRN is a unique collaboration between a top-level research center (Pennington Biomedical), an academic institution of great repute (Tulane) and an established, community-based public health institute (LPHI). The infrastructure investments in IT in this region and the strong relationships with our community partners provide an unprecedented opportunity to involve patients, clinicians and researchers in meaningful clinical research. Not only does the LACDRN promise to bring opportunities for funding clinical research in our state, it also opens numerous opportunities for economic development, entrepreneurship, and job creation in this region and puts Louisiana and New Orleans on the map of major players in biomedical and translational medical research.”

Click here to read the full story.

Medical Insurance

 

 

Good news for those in the state who may have been facing problems finding new insurance under the Affordable Care Act!

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has agreed to implement a federal health care act adjustment that could mean 93,000 Louisianians who were facing canceled health insurance policies might be able to keep their existing plans for another year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana — which provides 60,000 of the 93,000 plans in jeopardy — has said it will try to extend all of the coverage that it had previously slated for cancellation, after Donelon’s decision. Donelon and the insurance company made their announcements Wednesday night (Nov. 27).

Click here to read the full story from NOLA.com.

Louisiana Map

Louisiana is one of the unhealthiest states in the country. According to the latest edition of America’s Health Rankings, Louisiana ranks 49 in overall health, ahead of only Mississippi.

Many Louisianians face barriers to accessing healthcare, which leads to poor health outcomes. Uninsured people are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to have poor health status. Health insurance facilitates entry into the healthcare system and can ultimately improve long-term population health outcomes.

When certain parts of the Affordable Care Act take effect later this year, there will be new ways for individuals, families and small businesses to access health insurance. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, individuals in every state will be able to shop for health insurance and compare plans through newly established “marketplaces,” comparative shopping tools not unlike many of the web-based travel sites all of us frequent for deals on everything from airline tickets to rental cars.

Click here to review the five ways the new healthcare law impacts Louisiana specifically (www.healthcare.gov).

Health IT

The Greater New Orleans Health Information Exchange (GNOHIE), launched in late 2012 in the Greater New Orleans area, and its many partners was recently highlighted in the May/June issue of the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans. Check some of it out below. To read the full article, click here.

“In our ever more connected world, it makes sense that healthcare providers are increasingly exploring connectivity as a pathway to delivering quality care. Most hospitals, clinics, and even private practices are adopting electronic health records (EHRs) to better track patient information and in many cases provide patients with improved access to both that information and their healthcare providers between visits. In some cases, providers have agreed to adopt the same electronic health record (EHR) to improve communication as patients move between care settings, but for the most part, physicians and healthcare facilities have shopped for and implemented a wide variety of EHRs based on a number of factors, such as cost, ease of implementation, user friendliness, and more. So while they may have improved quality and efficiency within their own practice, they remain part of a fragmented system of healthcare delivery that few believe is best for patients, providers, quality or cost containment.”

To continue reading, click here.

To learn more about the GNOHIE, click here.

To learn more about LPHI’s work, click here.

Healthcare.gov has been relaunched recently.  Check it out for new information about the Marketplace section, where families and small businesses will be able to easily compare and purchase high-quality health insurance plans starting October 1, 2013, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.