BATON ROUGE- The Department of Health and Hospitals’ Medicaid program has received a $263,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to maximize the efficiency and accuracy of enrolling and retaining eligible individuals and families in Medicaid and SCHIP in the face of less staff and more need caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The devastation caused by the 2005 hurricanes seriously affected Medicaid’s customers, employees and facilities, with the end result being more work and fewer workers. Louisiana will use the grant funding to work with the Southern Institute on Children and Families and replicate a successful national process improvement collaborative aimed at improving everyday operations in offices across the state.

“Even before the hurricanes, we saw the need to make our services more efficient, especially since Medicaid staff has decreased in recent years as enrollment more than doubled,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. “With this grant support, we can work smarter to ensure that these important health care benefits can be accessed quickly by all who qualify. This will help us make great strides in our effort to increase primary and preventive health care for Louisianans.

Past work with the Southern Institute led to Louisiana lessening the number of days a pregnant woman must wait to have her Medicaid application processed, a crucial time frame that allows thousands of expectant mothers to be eligible for prenatal care less than a week after submitting an application to Medicaid. 

Louisiana Medicaid provides health coverage to more than one million low income children, pregnant women, elderly people and people with disabilities. For more information on the Medicaid Program, visit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

The Southern Institute on Children and Families works with federal, state and local leaders and businesses to tackle critical issues facing lower-income children and families. For more information on the Southern Institute on Children and Families, visit