In a coordinated effort to help eligible adults enroll into the newly expanded Medicaid program, or Healthy Louisiana, a unique partnership has been formed between hospitals and the state’s Medicaid program.
Known as “outstationing,” this new initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health, which began in May, allows hospitals and other health care providers around the state to have a dedicated eligibility worker onsite at their facility working directly with their staff and serving their Medicaid-eligible patients. These “outstationed” state employees assist Medicaid recipients with on-site real time eligibility decisions, as well as update their contact information in the eligibility system, verify eligibility and order new identification cards, for example.
This partnership is good for providers, patients and the State. Having eligibility workers at provider locations where health care services are delivered gives patients ready access to the Medicaid enrollment. Providers get an eligibility worker who will give priority to Medicaid applications submitted by their patients, and the state gets up to 25 percent of the eligibility worker’s pay and benefits covered by the host facility.
Governor John Bel Edwards said access to Medicaid through expansion is the next important step in making a real difference in quality of life for our family members and neighbors all across Louisiana.
“Practically, by now having health care coverage, our residents have the real stepping stone to accessing quality medical care that hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens have been waiting for,” said Gov. Edwards.
“Placing eligibility workers at more locations around the state improves access to information and customer service for both providers and Medicaid recipients, while reducing the need for additional office space,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “It’s a win-win.”
The Department of Health provides these eligibility workers with the necessary equipment, such as computers and printers, and the host facility provides the office space and furniture along with telephone and Internet connection.
Facilities that are also Medicaid Application Centers – whose own staff have been trained and certified by Medicaid officials to assist the public in completing and submitting Medicaid applications – will be able to collaborate more directly with the department to streamline the application process. One such facility is Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
Chief Executive Officer Kirk Soileau said his hospital did not hesitate to sign on to what he described as the strongest partnership with the Department that he has ever seen.
“As a rural community hospital, it’s a challenge to get this coverage to the most vulnerable populations who are eligible as quickly as possible,” Soileau said. “Having an eligibility worker right here in the field is a huge plus.”
To date, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, which serves numerous communities between Alexandria and Shreveport, is one of 32 sites with outstationed eligibility workers across the state. Another 32 sites are set to become active in the near future.
Medicaid providers interested in becoming an outstation site and/or a Medicaid Application Center can get information by visiting the “Resources” tab at www.healthy.la.gov or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or ApplicationCenter.Service@la.gov respectively.
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 residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.