Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine today announced appointments to the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC). The Committee will advise the Department on policies in the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to more than 1.2 million Louisiana adults and children for healthcare services from acute through long-term care. 

Resolutions backed by LDH during the 2009 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature, sponsored by Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chair Willie Mount, House Health and Welfare Kay Katz and Representative Fred Mills, encouraged the reactivation and reorganization of the MCAC.  The Committee will hold its first meeting in January to begin the process of revamping its bylaws, and establishing an agenda to assist with ensuring policies and priorities of the Department and Legislature are implemented with the input of the stakeholder community.

"While LDH is charged with the huge task of being accountable for the Medicaid program, we believe our decisions are better when they include input from the people who are impacted," said Secretary Levine.  "We always try to get feedback from the affected stakeholders before we implement policy, and this committee will provide us with good continuity and expertise."

"I could not be more pleased with the experience, qualifications and passion of the people who have agreed to serve," added Levine.  "The selection process was methodical and we took the time to find the right blend of people who have been involved in the process in the past while also trying to attract new people who have not yet had the opportunity to be involved." 

Dr. Michael Fleming has agreed to serve as Chairman of the Committee.  Fleming, from Shreveport, currently works as Chief Medical Officer of Amedisys, Inc., and is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Louisiana State University and the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Tulane University Medical School.  He also serves as president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and is a founding director and chief medical officer for Antidote Education Company, a medical education provider targeting primary care physicians. He has also been active in a number of professional medical organizations, most recently serving as president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"It is an honor to be asked to serve in this important role, and I know all the members will take their responsibility seriously," said Dr. Fleming.  "DHH has worked hard to involve its stakeholders, and we owe it to the program to provide meaningful, good ideas to help make the program better.  Real reforms lie ahead, and we stand ready to help."

With the significant expansion of Medicaid being a major part of all the reform bills in Washington, it is anticipated the Medicaid rolls in Louisiana will grow to more than 1.6 million people, with most of the expansion population being adults.  With the added cost of this expansion exceeding $2 billion annually ($130 million state match), Secretary Levine has advocated creating a coordinated delivery system to ensure the structural solvency of the program. 

"With nearly 40 percent of our population potentially being covered by the Medicaid program, this adds urgency to our efforts to reform our state’s program," said Levine.  "Virtually everyone agrees the current system is broken, and adding nearly 400,000 people to it without structural reform will be a recipe for failure.  We want the help of MCAC in implementing real reform, and we are confident we have the right people with the experience to help us get there."  

The Secretary’s appointees are a diverse group of health care providers and consumer advocates, covering pediatrics, radiology, orthopedics, pharmacy, optometry, hospitals and health plans. Committee members include:

  • Virginia Singleton-Alfred, M.D., of Lafayette, is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
  • Ronald Andrews, M.D., of Baton Rouge, is a co-owner of Pediatric and Internal Medicine Associates.
  • Coletta Barrett, R.N., M.H.A., OLO, of Baton Rouge, is the vice president of mission of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
  • Ed Carlson, of New Orleans, is the executive director at Louisiana’s Odyssey House.
  • Denise Danna, D.N.S., R.N., NEA, B.C., FACHE, of New Orleans, is the president of the Louisiana State Nurses Association and an assistant professor of nursing at the LSU Health Sciences Center. 
  • Maitland Deland, M.D., FACR, FACRO, FASLMS, of Lafayette, is a radiation oncologist, and president of OncoLogics, Inc.
  • Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., of New Orleans, is the C. Thorpe Ray Chair in Internal Medicine, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics, vice dean of community affairs and a professor of medicine at Tulane University.
  • Gil Dupre, of Baton Rouge, is the chief executive officer of the Louisiana Association of Health Plans and a member of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry Health Care Taskforce.
  • Ruth Fontenot, of New Iberia, is the Chief Operating Officer for the Alzheimer's Association Louisiana Chapter.
  • Stewart Gordon, M.D., of Baton Rouge, is the president of Louisiana’s Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Craig Greene, M.D., of Baton Rouge, is an orthopedic trauma surgeon at the Baton Rouge Orthopedic Clinic.
  • Johnnie Hunt, D.D.S., of Baton Rouge, is a pediatric dentist at Pediatric Dental Specialists of Baton Rouge.
  • Rhonda Litt, of Baton Rouge, is the executive director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association.
  • Marty McKay, of Alexandria, is the owner of Pearson Drugs, and a Louisiana Independent Pharmacists Association board member.
  • Teddy Ray Price, of Winnfield, is the president of Central Management Companies.
  • Keith Ramsey, M.D., of New Iberia, is the medical director and family medicine physician at the Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center in New Iberia.  
  • Katharine Rathbun, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, FACPM, FACOEM, of Baton Rouge, is the medical director at Concentra Medical Center. 
  • Paul Salles, of Baton Rouge, is the executive vice president of the Louisiana Hospital Association.
  • James "Jimmy" Sandifer, O.D., of Oakdale, is the secretary of the Louisiana Board of Optometry Examiners.
  • Fayez Shamieh, M.D., of Lake Charles, is a neurologist at Neuro Associates. 
  • Roxane Townsend, M.D., of Baton Rouge, is the interim CEO at LSU Hospitals.
  • Dawn Rube Vick, M.D., of Baton Rouge, is a pediatrician at The Pediatric Clinic in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.  
  • Linda Welch, of Pride, is the executive director at the Louisiana Rural Hospital Coalition.
  • Stephen Wright, of Alexandria, is the president and CEO of CHRISTUS Health Central Louisiana.

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.