BATON ROUGE- The workgroup formed by the Department of Health to make recommendations to improve long term care will meet in Covington in March.

The date of the meeting is March 15, from 9 until 11 a.m. The group will meet in the offices of Easter Seals, 19405 Helenberg Road, Covington.

The Long Term Care Workgroup was formed in 2004 by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Her executive order called for a two-stage planning process to improve long term care. The first stage, the development of an immediate action plan for reform was created in the fall of 2004, and subsequently presented to the Health Care Reform Panel that December.

The second stage, the development of a comprehensive plan for long range reforms that can be implemented by 2010, is now underway.

According to Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH secretary, extensive public input is necessary to ensure the plan will meet the goals outlined by Gov. Blanco.

“We are working with our regional Health Care Consortia to solicit ideas that will assure choice when it comes to long term care, that creates cost efficiencies and that improves quality,” Cerise said.

The public is invited to attend this planning meeting that is hosted by the Region 9 Health Care Consortium. But, reservations are necessary. Please call to 1-888-554-5569 or 985-892-7604 to reserve your place.