Baton Rouge --- As the ongoing process to reform health care in Louisiana gets underway, citizens will have the chance to offer solutions for their regional health care needs. The Department of Health is working with Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and the Legislature’s delegation to form regional consortia.

Gov. Blanco will be forming nine regional consortia, which are meant to continue the work begun in the regional summits convened prior to the 2004 Health Care Summit in March. The groups were enacted in legislation proposed by Sen. Joe McPherson and Rep. Sydnie Mae Durand. The regional consortia will be formed in the next 60 days.

The consortia will be made up of qualified individuals from each area of the state with an interest in both public and private health care fields. The number of members on each regional consortium is not specified; rather, the members will be appointed based on interest, background and health care experience to ensure a diverse working group that can discuss a variety of needs.

The consortia will hold regular meetings to discuss each region’s specific health care needs. Consortia members are expected to send reports to the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel, the statewide health care reform group. The panel held its first meeting in June, and is set to meet again in September.

Membership on the regional consortia is still open, and citizens are encouraged to apply. All meetings will be open to the public. Citizens are invited to participate in the consortia meetings for their regions so the panel can hear a variety of solutions to the state’s many and varied health care needs.

All regional consortia meetings will be advertised in local media. LDH also will post an advisory about each regional meeting on its Web site, Or, citizens can contact their regional representative on the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel to get more information about health care reform in their area. The contacts are as follows, with parish locations specified:

Region I (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard)
Sen. Diana Bajoie 

Region II (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, Ascension)
Sen. Jay Dardenne

Region III (Terrebonne, St. Mary, Assumption, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, Lafourche)
Sen. Reggie P. Dupre

Region IV (Evangeline, St. Landry, St. Martin, Iberia, Vermillion, Lafayette, Acadia)
Sen. Craig F. Romero

Region V (Beauregard, Allen, Jefferson Davis, Cameron, Calcasieu)
Sen. Willie Mount

Region VI (Vernon, Rapides, Avoyelles, Concordia, Catahoula, La Salle, Grant, Winn)
Sen. William “Joe” McPherson

Region VII (Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Bienville, Red River, Natchitoches, Sabine, DeSoto)
Sen. Lydia P. Jackson

Region VIII (Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Morehouse, West Carroll, East Carroll, Ouachita, Richland, Madison, Tensas, Franklin, Caldwell)
Sen. Bob Kostelka

Region IX (St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, Livingston)
Sen. Ben Nevers

For questions about the health care consortia, contact the Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of the Secretary at 225-342-9500, or visit the LDH Web site,