Louisiana Healthcare Provider Organizations Unite to Protect Patients and Services

October 18, 2010

Baton Rouge, La – The Louisiana Ambulance Alliance, Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana State Medical Society, MedicineLouisiana and the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans today announced the formation of the Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare to protect healthcare services for the state’s most vulnerable patients.

“The Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare represents tens of thousands of direct caregivers and healthcare employees throughout Louisiana,” said John Matessino, president and CEO of the Louisiana Hospital Association. “We are deeply concerned about the recent and future cuts to Medicaid and the rapid development of Coordinated Care Networks being proposed by the Department of Health and Hospitals.”

Community hospitals, physicians and emergency medical services have been the target of massive Medicaid cuts exceeding $250 million collectively over the last two years. These severe Medicaid cuts are having a negative impact on providers’ abilities to care for patients, in addition to creating lasting harm to Louisiana communities and businesses.

“These cuts will adversely affect access to quality care and will also increase cost shifting to businesses,” said Paul Salles, CEO of the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans. “They are counterproductive to economic growth and are already resulting in job losses to Louisiana residents.”

“Putting patients first is a priority for Louisiana’s healthcare providers,” said Dr. Steven Spedale, chair of MedicineLouisiana. “We need a system that ensures care is centered on the individual, is rooted in best practices and utilizes the latest evidence-based medicine. It’s what guides the actions and decisions of physicians, nurses and other caregivers every day..”

The Coalition today sent letters to Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators outlining its concerns with the Coordinated Care Networks (CCNs). The Coalition believes the CCNs, as currently structured, will reduce provider participation in Medicaid, reduce the ability to maximize federal financing for healthcare services and cause other potentially negative long-term effects on patient care.

“We strongly urge our elected officials to support short and long-term strategies to ease cuts to community hospitals and physicians, as well as delay the implementation of Coordinated Care Networks to allow for input from provider stakeholders and the legislature on how best to achieve our common goals of care coordination and quality improvement,” said Dr. Patrick C. Breaux, president of the Louisiana State Medical Society.

“Medicare and Medicaid ambulance benefits have been cut consistently over the last few years while fuel, insurance and labor costs have all increased,” said Donna Newchurch, CEO of the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance. “EMS providers cannot afford further cuts without affecting the level of care. Further cuts will mean that fewer ambulances will be available to respond to emergencies meaning longer response times, thus resulting in poorer patient outcomes.”

The Coalition is committed to working with Gov. Jindal’s administration, the Louisiana Legislature and the Department of Health and Hospitals on improving healthcare for Louisiana. Coalition members support strategies to expand healthcare coverage, access and coordination; to provide adequate and sustainable funding for providers; to improve quality and outcomes; and to protect and enhance graduate medical education.

About the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance
The Louisiana Ambulance Alliance, formed in 1995 by healthcare professionals who deliver emergency medical services to Louisiana’s citizens, is a not-for-profit membership organization. The LAA serves as the convening point for EMS providers, promotes and improves access to EMS services, identifies and promotes quality of care, and addresses policy issues related to ambulance and air transportation services.

About the Louisiana Hospital Association
Established in 1926, the Louisiana Hospital Association is a non-profit organization representing more than 150 hospitals and healthcare provider groups across the state. The mission of the LHA is to support its members through advocacy, education and services. For more information, visit the LHA website at www.lhaonline.org.

About the Louisiana State Medical Society
Established in 1878, the Louisiana State Medical Society serves as the premier advocate for patients and physicians. The LSMS is the largest voluntary physician organization in the state and represents all specialties. Please visit the LSMS online at www.LSMS.org.

About MedicineLouisiana

MedicineLouisiana is a collaborative of physicians working to better the practice environment for medical professionals in the state of Louisiana. The organization provides a unified voice for the physician and serves as a spokesperson and advocate working with policymakers at all levels of government. Medicine Louisiana represents a diversity of physician group sizes and specialties.

About the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans

The Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans is a non-profit, regional membership and service organization representing hospitals and healthcare organizations in the Greater New Orleans Area since 1977.

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