Today, Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kliebert announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a two-year renewal of federal authority to operate a demonstration program focused on advancing and sustaining access to health care services in the New Orleans area. The program, called the Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection (GNOCHC), is a Medicaid demonstration waiver that provides primary care and behavioral health care services to more than 54,000 individuals in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.

A temporary, no-cost extension filed by LDH in 2013 allowed the state to restructure the GNOCHC waiver in order to ensure that it continued to operate without additional funding. In July of this year, CMS approved an amendment to the waiver that increased the program's total budget limit, allowing the state to access the program's remaining funding and continue services through the waiver's expiration at the end of 2014. Earlier this year, the legislature appropriated an additional $7 million in community development block grant (CDBG) funding as state match, funding the program through June 2015. With the waiver set to expire Dec. 31, 2014, LDH submitted a renewal application to extend federal authority to operate the program. The approved renewal extends the authority for GNOCHC through Dec. 31, 2016. LDH will continue to work with the regional delegation in the upcoming legislative session to identify available funding for ongoing operation of the program beyond the end of the fiscal year.

"I want to thank the New Orleans legislative delegation for their hard work during the budget process and ongoing commitment to this important program," said LDH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "I also want to thank our federal partners for their diligence in granting this renewal. The GNOCHC program is tailored to the needs of the Greater New Orleans community and provides essential primary and behavioral health care services to thousands of regional residents. With a focus on providing preventive and primary care, GNOCHC helps keep individuals out of costly emergency room settings and works in harmony with our efforts to strengthen the regional safety-net through the LSU public-private partnerships."

The GNOCHC began in October 2010 after the completion of the Primary Care Access Stabilization Grant, an initiative that was widely recognized as an effective initiative for increasing access to and participation in primary care for areas in Southern Louisiana heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

GNOCHC currently has 54,137 enrollees with access to 18 different provider organizations at 44 service locations.  Over 30,000 individuals accessed services through the program in state fiscal year 2014.

Eligibility information is located here:

A list of participating providers may be found here:

Additional information regarding the GNOCHC waiver may be found here:

Information on the program, application process and clinic locations may also be found here: