BATON ROUGE—The Louisiana Department of Health will close its Medicaid Office in Allen Parish when the lease expires in July 2009. All Medicaid staff currently at the office will be placed in local public agencies or use a telecommuting program to process applications. The office closure is expected to have little impact on Medicaid applicants and enrollees in the area, as the overwhelming majority of interaction with the public is by phone, by mail, or through outreach and out stationing.
Medicaid is a federal- and state-funded and state-administered program that pays for medical services for eligible people with low to moderate incomes. To ensure Allen Parish still has a Medicaid presence, Medicaid staff will be stationed at local public agencies in the parish, including the following:
Allen Parish Courthouse, Oberlin - every Wednesday, starting July 1
Allen Parish Hospital, Doctor’s Building, Kinder – every Wednesday and Thursday starting July 1
Allen Parish Mental Health, Oberlin – every Monday starting July 6
Elizabeth Town Hall, Elizabeth – first Thursday of each month starting August 6
Information and Technology Building, Oberlin – start date and regular time to be determined
In addition, Medicaid outreach staff will remain actively involved in the Allen community and LDH will continue to support and enhance the services offered through its six contracted Medicaid Application Centers throughout the parish. The six employees currently working from the Allen Parish location will either transfer to nearby offices in DeRidder or Jennings, or be allowed to telecommute.
“Closing the Allen Parish site is a difficult decision but also a unique opportunity made possible by the current state budget outlook,” Jerry Phillips, Medicaid Director, said. “This particular location’s closure allows us to operate more efficiently within available funds while at the same time maintaining service and retaining staff.”
This latest move is representative of an overall trend within Medicaid offices to find the most efficient ways to operate and serve the public. In addition to looking at the consolidation of office locations within a geographic region, the Medicaid Program also initiated a telecommuting program, known as Work @ Home in June 2008. The program allows Medicaid eligibility workers to utilize technological advancements by the agency in recent years to work from home, providing a fully functional worksite that is not bound to a central location.
For further information about the Louisiana Medicaid Program, visit http://www.medicaid.dhh.louisiana.gov. TheLouisiana Department of Health serves 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, visithttp://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.