Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health announced they will begin taking steps to terminate Alternatives Living from the state Medicaid program. The action follows a federal indictment handed down today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that accuses the owners of Alternatives Living of the theft of federal funds and conspiracy to commit theft of federal funds. The indictment was handled by the U.S. Attorney following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Located in New Orleans, Alternatives Living provides mental health rehabilitation services, including supports to help individuals live independently in their communities and maintain access to housing. The company also serves a small number of individuals with developmental disabilities through the New Opportunities Waiver, or NOW. The agency serves six NOW clients and between 325 and 350 mental health rehab clients.
The initial action taken by the Department of Health will be to terminate Alternatives Living's Medicaid provider agreement. It is this agreement that allows an agency to provide and bill for services in the Medicaid program. The action means that Alternatives Living will no longer receive Medicaid payments.
The department will immediately take steps to transition individuals who receive services from Alternatives Living to other providers in the area and ensure their personal safety and medical, social and housing support needs are appropriately met.
Alternatives Living has been subject to previous investigations by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and the Department of Health's Surveillance and Utilization Review unit. In this current case, the department has coordinated and worked cooperatively with officials from both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General and Louisiana's Office of Inspector General.
Michelle Alletto, deputy secretary of the Department of Health, said the most immediate need is to ensure care for those who are served by Alternatives Living.
"Our priority is the clients who depend on the state of Louisiana for their care and the services that allow them to live independently," she said. "We will work with those individuals, their families and other providers to ensure a seamless transition to a new provider agency."
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.