Beginning Saturday, approximately 83,000 LaCHIP and Medicaid patients who reside in Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes will be linked to a doctor who will coordinate their medical care.

This change is a result of the Department of Health and Hospitals’ CommunityCARE program, which creates a "medical home" for more than 75 percent of LaCHIP and Medicaid patients.

With the addition of the Acadiana area to the program, there are now 418,000 Louisiana residents from 51 parishes around the state enrolled in CommunityCARE.

LDH Secretary David W. Hood says the CommunityCARE program strengthens the doctor/patient relationship, ultimately resulting in better health outcomes for the patients. "We are changing the face of Medicaid," Hood said. "In the past, Medicaid simply provided coverage for recipients. We are now ensuring that our Medicaid recipients have a doctor they trust who can treat their illnesses and detect disease early enough to prevent its progression."

In a survey of CommunityCARE patients conducted in Fall 2002, 74 percent of respondents said they were pleased with the process of selecting their own doctor and 85 percent of respondents noted that they were satisfied with the care they received from their CommunityCARE doctor.

If recipients have any questions about CommunityCARE and how it will affect their medical care, they can call 1-800-359-2122 or visit the Web site at View this release online at