The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in partnership with Agenda for Children and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Cover the Uninsured Week campaign, will hold a news conference on April 17 at 10 a.m. to announce the beginning of a week-long effort to enroll New Orleans area children in available health coverage programs.  The event will be hosted at the Children’s Defense Fund Headquarters at 1452 N. Broad St. in New Orleans, La.

The LaCHIP Outreach Blitz will take place April 17 – 22 throughout Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes.  The event will be targeting families whose children have lost their LaCHIP/Medicaid health care coverage for any reason post-Katrina as well as families who have never received coverage before and are unaware they qualify for the LaCHIP program.

Almost 67,000 children in the New Orleans area lost their health care coverage after Hurricane Katrina.  LDH estimates that roughly a third of these children are still eligible for LaCHIP or Medicaid.

LDH employees and other volunteers from across the state will come to New Orleans to take part in this massive enrollment event.  These workers will be stationed throughout the New Orleans area, distributing information about various health coverage programs and setting up mobile units of LDH eligibility workers.  They will be processing LaCHIP/Medicaid applications, renewing coverage for families who need to update their contact information, and providing immediate eligibility determinations whenever possible.

Enrollers will be stationed in retail stores, schools, churches, community centers and other venues across Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes, hosting more than 70 events in six days.  Events will take place over the weekend and into the evenings to provide working families opportunities to visit the eligibility sites. 

A complete listing of events is available at

Speakers at the news conference will include LDH LaCHIP Director Ruth Kennedy, Mary Joseph with the Children’s Defense Fund, and Dr. George Sterne with the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  These speakers will each have an important topic to discuss regarding the Outreach Blitz, the importance of children’s health insurance, the state of health care in New Orleans, and the role LaCHIP and Medicaid play in providing medical care for those who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

For more information about the LaCHIP program, visit or call 1-877-2LaCHIP (252-2447).