Baton Rouge – The Department of Health today announced a new plan to help ensure more children in Louisiana are properly immunized. 

Louisiana Medicaid is implementing an initiative in which doctors will receive enhanced reimbursements for making sure children receive their immunization shots. Under the plan, doctors will receive an increased monthly payment of $0.25 per Medicaid patient under age 21 if the doctor participates in the electronic immunization registry, LINKS. In addition, those with immunization rates above national norms can earn additional incentive payments.

“We hope this measure will encourage doctors to take every opportunity to see that children are properly vaccinated, including implementing systems such as LINKS to better manage their patient groups,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “Immunizing children is one of the most important strategies to improving Louisiana’s overall health.”

The most recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show Louisiana ranking 32nd in the country for children up-to-date on vaccines.  The state moved up 11 places from the previous year, when it was ranked 46th in the nation.

Over the past years, Louisiana has taken many steps to improve childhood immunization rates. This includes requiring that children be fully vaccinated before entering school; conducting special, after-hours and weekends immunization clinics; creating a data system that allows doctors and the state to better monitor immunizations and eliminating the need for appointments at parish health clinics for vaccines.

“Continually seeking ways to improve our rate of childhood vaccines is a key goal of ours, as is paying physicians a more competitive reimbursement rate. This effort furthers both of these goals,” Cerise said.

A full list of eligibility requirements and pay tiers for the new pay-for-performance initiative can be found under the heading “CommunityCARE Immunization P4P Initiative.”

Please note that details for this initiative and the supplemental payment methodology have not been finalized and are subject to change.