Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein today announced a series of statewide and regional forums to further the dialogue with citizens and stakeholders on how to make Medicaid better by managing the health care of recipients.

“After spending the past nine weeks traveling the state and listening to ideas and concerns about Medicaid from recipients, doctors, health advocates and others, it is obvious that we must begin managing care to offer a better quality of life for the people we serve,” Secretary Greenstein said. “I have found, in talking to so many people, that everyone agrees managing care is better than not managing care. The question now is how to best do that in a way that produces better health outcomes, cuts costs and is actionable.”

The first “Making Medicaid Better” forum is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s Pennington Conference Center, 6400 Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. This is a public meeting, and media and members of the public are welcome to participate. No registration is required. The forum also will be streamed live at www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com as technology permits.

State Rep. Kay Katz, chairwoman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, will begin the meeting.  Alan Weil, the executive director of the National Academy of State Health Policy and a leading expert on managing care in Medicaid, will provide the keynote address. The forum also will include working sessions with Louisiana Medicaid leadership and Secretary Greenstein to present and discuss the department’s approach for developing a better delivery system for Medicaid and to discuss various topics critical to improving health care.

“It is imperative that we work together – providers, enrollees, advocates, everyone – to build a Louisiana-style plan that fits our state’s needs,” Greenstein said. “We are committed to moving aggressively to get better outcomes through our reform. This is our time to change the face of health care in Louisiana.”

Following this initial forum, LDH will hold meetings across the state through mid-December to continue the dialogue.  The schedule of those meetings is online at www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com. This site will be updated frequently as more information becomes available, and the public is advised to check there often for the latest details. Visitors to the site also can review information about DHH’s proposal to transform Medicaid and can submit their comments electronically.

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 citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog at www.myhealthla.org, Twitter at http://twitter.com/La_Health_Dept and search for the Louisiana Department of Health on Facebook.