Today, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals outlined the impact that House Bill 1, the state's budget bill, will have on health care services. As enrolled, HB 1 allocates the Department $8.929 billion for FY 13.

In order to achieve target spending levels and further improve efficiencies, the Department is in the process of implementing a series of reductions that affect LDH's program offices and the Medicaid program, which provides health care coverage to over 1.2 million Louisiana residents and financing for LSU public hospitals. These reductions include a combination of workforce realignments, privatization initiatives, program efficiencies and provider rate reductions.

"DHH is committed to running a balanced budget that makes the most effective use of tax dollars entrusted to us," said Bruce D. Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. "These reductions were crafted to mitigate the impact on critical services."

Program changes are outlined by office below, with associated funding and position reductions highlighted.

Bureau of Health Services Financing/Medicaid ($129.8 million SGF, $353.4 million Total; 34 TO). There are three components to Medicaid Program reductions. Medicaid will regionalize all eligibility processing offices, resulting in one processing office per LDH Region (nine total). Individuals will continue to have access to over 500 in-person application centers as well as online and telephone services. Medicaid will also achieve additional savings through an average private provider, Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership and BAYOU HEALTH program reduction of 3.7 percent. Finally, LDH will continue its focus on better management of Medicaid services through BAYOU HEALTH. Under this strategy, acute care services for three additional populations - nursing home, ICF-DD and waiver recipients - and two additional services - dental and pharmacy services - will be carved into managed care. Further, LSU Health Care Services Division (HCSD) funding will be reduced by $4.5 million SGF.

Office of Aging and Adult Services ($28,233 SGF; $39,780 Total). In order to maintain current census levels without additional funding, OAAS is undergoing a reorganization of positions at Villa Feliciana. Additional savings will be realized as a result of the closure of an underutilized ventilator unit at Villa Feliciana Medical Complex and a reduction of investigation staff associated with the anticipated privatization of two OCDD facilities, Northwest and North Lake.

Office of Behavioral Health ($5.87 million SGF; $5.87 million Total; 421 TO). This budget anticipates the first phase of a multi-year plan to relocate and right-size Central Louisiana State Hospital (CLSH). OBH will save SGF by better leveraging resources through the new Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership for services now offered through the Access to Recovery Program (ATR) and paid for with SGF-only funding. This reduction also includes transfer of programs to local Human Service Districts, privatization of food services and additional program efficiencies in statewide and regional operations.

Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities ($959,385 SGF; $62.8 million Total; 1,163 TO). This budget includes the privatization of North Lake and Northwest Supports and Services Centers for a Medicaid savings of $6.9 million SGF. The facilities will be transferred to private providers in their current locations and remain large Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF/DDs), working closely with quality partners in the community. Additionally, OCDD will generate savings in its and Medicaid's budget through staff realignment at Pinecrest due to lower census levels; reducing SGF for employment services; eliminating administrative positions; privatizing food services; and holding NOW attrition slots. The annualization of the FY 2012 hiring freeze and the Leesville consolidation also contribute to the savings.

Office of Public Health ($1.58 million SGF; $1.58 million Total; 100 TO). Savings will be realized as a result of a policy change that expands the role of local and municipal water systems to include collecting water samples for bacteria testing. OPH lab and environmental experts will continue to test, analyze, report and monitor water safety results, and work with systems on maintenance and improvements. In addition, in personal health services, parish health unit services in Ascension and St. Helena parishes will be transitioned to FQHCs or parish government operation, and regional administrative and social services support will be reorganized. OPH will also generate additional savings by consolidating some central office operations and like programs. Further, OPH anticipates additional program and staffing changes as it undertakes several initiatives to realign systems, environmental sanitation operations and consolidate like programs to continue to modernize its business operations and achieve further efficiencies.

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 For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.