Louisiana to get healthcare overhaul

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Louisiana is working with federal officials to come up with a comprehensive plan to redesign the state's battered healthcare delivery system.

The plan requires the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to submit by Oct. 20 a proposal to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a large-scale waiver of rules governing Medicaid and Medicare programs. Initially, the collaborative will focus on the greater New Orleans area, which is still recovering following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina last year.

The elderly were among the hardest hit groups by the storm. Dozens of nursing home residents died, garnering worldwide headlines in at least one infamous instance.

The overall goal of the plan, which is called the Louisiana Healthcare Redesign Collaborative, will be to develop and oversee the implementation of a blueprint for an evidence-based, quality-driven healthcare system for the state. The plan is expected to serve as a guide for healthcare policy and for the recovery of healthcare in hurricane-affected areas of the state.

For more information, go to www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/?ID=288