Looking back over the past year to review health care initiatives underway and discuss ongoing reform efforts will be the main topic at the fourth meeting of the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel.

The meeting, which is open to media and the public, will take place on Thursday, March 17 at the Mariott Hotel in Baton Rouge, 5500 Hilton Ave., from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

The meeting will include a much broader review and discussion of health care issues than the panel’s two most recent meetings, which focused on long-term care and the uninsured.

As this meeting will mark one year since the first Statewide Health Care Summit, the panel will spend the meeting reviewing the reform accomplishments of the past year and looking ahead toward enhanced opportunities. This includes health care financing and Medicaid flexibility as it relates to recent proposals by the Bush Administration.

At this meeting, Gov. Blanco will be presented with Louisiana's Long-Term Care Plan for Immediate Action, which represents the culmination of many months of work on the part of numerous stakeholders at the state, regional and local level and reflects best practices in the area of long-term care based upon expert consultation throughout the plan's process of development. The plan was introduced at the panel’s December meeting and was presented to each of the nine regional consortia throughout January and February to allow time for input and suggestion.

Regional Consortia Chairpersons will address the Panel in accordance with SCR 95 of the 2004 legislative session, which established the framework for the consortia to provide the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel with ongoing input. These reports will provide insight into region-specific priorities and provide an opportunity for regions to highlight model health-related programs and processes in their respective areas.

For more information on the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov.