Cao Issues Statement on Oil Platform Fire

September 13, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-02) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved Louisiana’s request for an 18-month, no-cost extension for the Hurricane Katrina Primary Care Access and Stabilization Grant (PCASG). The grant is extended to March 31st, 2012.

Cao said, “This is great news. It means that tens of thousands of people in New Orleans and the parishes of Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines will be able to continue taking advantage of health care services provided under the grant for another year and a half. I am thrilled the Department of Health and Human Services has decided to grant our request for an extension at no cost to serve the ongoing needs of our people.”

In May 2007, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the $100 million PCASG grant to the state of Louisiana to stabilize, expand and improve community-based primary and mental health care services in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes in the aftermath of Katrina. Through the program, 25 public and private nonprofit organizations have made substantial progress in providing community-based care and meeting essential health care needs throughout greater New Orleans. The services they have provided, without regard to the patient’s ability to pay, include primary health care, mental health treatment and counseling, HIV/AIDS treatment and counseling and substance abuse treatment.

Currently, the PCASG program is allowing clinics to provide care for more than 160,000 primarily uninsured or under insured people in the four-parish area. This reflects a 25% increase in the number of people served since the funds were first dispersed. The participating organizations also employ approximately 1,000 people in the region. 36 of the provider sites have achieved recognition from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) as Patient-Centered Medical Homes, representing the nation’s largest concentration of such recognized high-quality primary care centers.

Because of operational efficiences achieved by the PCASG grantees, the program will have unexpended funds at the end of the original grant period, which expires this month. Southeast Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, led by Cao, wrote HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requesting a no-cost extension. Today, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the extension request has been approved.

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