Today, several groups representing health care providers and advocates released statements in response to the Governor's Fiscal Year 2012 executive budget announcement.
Dr. Donnie Batie, President of the Louisiana Independent Physicians Association, said, "Today marks a step forward in the prioritization of health care in our state. Despite the significant financial challenges facing Louisiana, the LDH FY 12 budget has no rate decreases for physician services in Medicaid. Though we have much work to do collectively in moving health care forward, our members are pleased that no reductions were included and that Secretary Greenstein continues to keep doctors engaged in the efforts of the Department. We are grateful for the positive partnership and dialogue we've created together. Also, as the state's Medicaid transformation advances, we look forward to improving the care we provide, saving additional dollars and then re-investing those dollars in the health of our state."
Sandra "Sam" Beech, Chairwoman of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, said, "The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council is gratified that Home and Community Based Service providers were spared from additional rate cuts in Governor Jindal's FY12 Executive Budget. Home and community-based service agencies provide essential services to help individuals with developmental disabilities live in their own homes and participate in their communities. Any further rate cuts would have increased the strain on providers and jeopardized the services people with developmental disabilities need to live safely and independently in their communities.
The fact that Home and Community Based providers, and all Medicaid providers, were spared from rate cuts in the Governor's Budget is welcome news. As a state, we need to be doing everything we can to keep Medicaid providers in the program. As a parent of a young man with a developmental disability who wants quality services for my son and others, I am grateful that the administration recognizes and understands that need. We are thankful we have been able to build a strong working relationship with the Department of Health and Hospitals."
Ward Blackwell, Executive Director of the Louisiana Dental Association, said, "The proposed budget announced today makes oral health care a priority and recognizes how critical access is if we want to ensure a healthy population. We know that good oral health is a key component of practicing preventive health care, and we appreciate the fact that LDH has crafted a balanced budget that does not slash dental provider rates in Medicaid. Louisiana’s dentists have been a strong voice at the table with LDH leadership advocating for their patients because we know that access to good oral health care will save taxpayers money in the long run. We appreciate this collaborative environment, particularly during these challenging financial times. While many other state budgets – including some faced with even far less challenges than Louisiana faces – have stripped dental services and sliced away at rates, the message today in Louisiana is that oral health care is a priority. We believe our collaboration over the past three years to offer up real solutions, find efficiencies and streamline our programs has played a significant role in keeping rates stable and preserving access for our patients.”
Laura Brackin, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Arc of Louisiana, said, "We have long been committed to helping people live better lives in the least restrictive settings possible. Fulfilling that goal requires a robust provider community to meet the needs of those we serve. Today's announcement that the Governor's executive budget for the next fiscal year preserves provider rates is a real indication of the collaborative relationship we have built with DHH. Our waiver providers have been earnestly working with LDH and our clients to implement Resource Allocation in recent months because we know this is a critical step to managing the waiver programs long-term and preserving access for our clients. We are committed to continuing the smooth implementation of this initiative in collaboration with the department and in a way that helps people live full and independent lives."
Roderick Campbell, President of the Louisiana Primary Care Association Board and Chief Executive Officer of Iberia Comprehensive Health Center, said, "The governor-in partnership with LDH and Secretary Greenstein-has collaborated with the healthcare community to ensure a mutually beneficial consensus over limited resources. His budget priorities reflect an honest commitment to support healthcare in our state in order to serve the most people in the most effective manner possible."
Joe Donchess, Executive Director of Louisiana Nursing Home Association, said, "We are pleased to see that the Governor's executive budget for FY 2012 takes important steps to preserve access to critical health care services, including nursing home care. LNHA and its members have enjoyed working collaboratively with the department to mitigate any financial impact on our members, who serve some of our oldest and most precious citizens. We are thankful to LDH and the Governor for their openness and candor and look forward to our continued partnership."
Dr. Dean Grifffen, President of the Louisiana State Medical Society, said, "The Louisiana State Medical Society, Secretary Greenstein and LDH staff have worked hard collectively to make significant headway in improving Louisiana's health care delivery system. During the past few months, we have worked closely on solutions that benefit Louisiana's patients and their physicians. We are pleased that Governor Jindal's proposed Medicaid budget protects patients' access to quality health care."
Ricky T. Guidry, RPh., Chairman of the Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association and owner of Guidry's Healthcenter Pharmacy in Iowa, LA, said, "Understanding and valuing the vital purpose healthcare fulfills means nothing if it can't be supported. By making healthcare a budget priority, the governor keeps Louisiana from losing substantial momentum and ensures our state can continue to compete in the global economy."
Dr. Alan Lebato, Board President of the Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians (LAFP), and Ragan Leblanc, LAFP Vice President, said, "The Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians has long been committed to providing high quality health care to the citizens of our state. We are thankful that we have been able to build a stronger working relationship with LDH and that LDH leadership has been open to listening to our suggestions as we all face historic financial challenges. Today's announcement that the agency's proposed budget for the next fiscal year is balanced without reducing physician rates is welcome news and evidence of that collaborative relationship we've built. We continue to be committed to developing a stronger partnership with Sec. Greenstein and LDH as we work collaboratively to build a better health care system in Louisiana."
John Matessino, President and CEO of the Louisiana Hospital Association, and Paul Salles, CEO of the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans, said, "The Louisiana Hospital Association and Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans are pleased that the Jindal Administration has made healthcare a priority and not made any further reductions to hospital services in the Medicaid program despite Louisiana's budget shortfall.
Since Feb. 2009, community hospitals have had their reimbursement cut by over 20 percent for many services. In response to these reductions, LDH Sec. Greenstein has taken the time to meet with hospital leadership to gain an understanding of the challenges that hospitals face and how further cuts to these facilities would lead to reduced healthcare services and job losses in many communities. We look forward to continuing to work with LDH to ensure access to quality healthcare for all Louisiana residents."
Gary Peters, Board President of the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance, said, "We recognize the difficult decisions the administration has been tasked with in developing the operating budget given the state's current fiscal situation. The budget, as presented, demonstrates that the Governor and LDH Secretary Greenstein recognize the vital importance of EMS services for Louisiana's residents."
Chris Pilley, Executive Director of CARSA, said, "On behalf of the members of CARSA who provide community-based services to persons with disabilities throughout the state of Louisiana, I would like to thank Governor Jindal; Commissioner Rainwater; Secretary Greenstein and the LDH leadership team for their work in preparing the FY 11-12 Executive Budget Request. We are especially grateful for the access and input LDH provided to our membership during the budget development process, their willingness to hear our concerns about our ability to continue to provide quality services to the people we serve and their commitment to work with the provider community collaboratively to assure the long term viability of the services we provide.
Today's announcement that the agency's proposed budget for the next fiscal year is balanced without slicing provider rates is welcome news and a testament to that collaborative relationship we've built. Our providers have been earnestly working with LDH and our clients to implement Resource Allocation and other cost saving measures in recent months because we know this is a critical step to managing the waiver programs long-term and preserving access for our clients."
Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein released the following statement recognizing the work of the department and these groups.
Greenstein said, "Despite these challenging times, Louisiana's provider and advocacy groups have worked with the department to develop innovative policies to improve quality while holding down costs. Without their continued partnership, we would not have been able to balance this budget without further provider rate reductions."
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 http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook page.