State plan to improve Medicaid

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - State Health Secretary, Bruce Greenstein said the best way to bring Medicaid costs down is to make sure patients are actually healed. According to the Department of Health and Hospitals Louisiana is one of the worst states for infant mortality, cancer deaths, and preventable hospitalizations. Greenstein believes if we can get the health issues under control the budget will follow.

"Our hospitals and our doctors do a good job, but there's no intermediary to coordinate the care, and integrate the care, and follow up with the patients," said Secretary Greenstein.

The revamped Medicaid program will offer incentives to primary care physicians to offer longer hours of operation, weekend times, and more urgent care providers. This would be to cut down on people using the emergency room like a primary care provider. Some argue that since a person on Medicaid does not have to pay for healthcare, longer hours will not stop needless emergency room visits.

"They can come into our office several times a day, and some of them do, because they don't pay anything. They go to the emergency room when we're open. Why did they do that? It could be convenient," said one local healthcare provider.  

Another portion of the plan that some took issue with, insurance companies that want to offer policies to Medicaid patients will be allowed to submit proposals for consideration. Health Secretary Greenstein and his staff would analyze each company and select several to participate.

"If I tried to do it, I would have to hire up a lot of new people, create a big portion of the state agency, and probably not be that good at it. The ideas is that we want to go hire those that have done this before, have a good track record, and do it really well," said Secretary Greenstein.

click here for a link to the "Making Medicaid Better" web site.

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