Joint Statement from the Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare
Regarding Solutions to Protect Patient Care and to Immediately Eliminate Cuts to Health Care Providers
A Response to DHH Sec. Greenstein’s Senate Finance Committee Testimony
With the Department of Health and Hospital’s (DHH) latest proposed budget reductions, the fifth since Feb. 2009, more than $250 million in funding for physicians, community hospitals, and emergency services has been cut by the state. As members of the Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare, we urge the Louisiana Legislature and DHH to strongly consider our recommendations for short, medium and long-term budget relief so that we can continue to provide access to quality care to our state’s most vulnerable patients.
Specifically, we recommend:
· Using the extended Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, also known as FMAP, this state fiscal year to maximize enhanced federal matching funds;
· Accelerating the use of financial mechanisms, such as the Upper Payment Limit program and Certified Public Expenditures; and
Exploring alternative funding sources currently being utilized and expanded in other states.
Without these steps, Louisiana stands to lose millions of dollars. Some of these solutions may be politically inconvenient, but necessary to protect access to health care.
The Coalition is also actively working on an alternative model of patient-centered, coordinated care for consideration by DHH and the state that will not only put the patient first, but will also lead to cost-savings for Louisiana.
DHH is expected to finalize Medicaid budget cuts in the next few weeks that will take effect Dec. 1. These cuts are fiscally irresponsible and discriminatory to certain providers. They will limit patients’ access to primary and specialty care and to hospital and emergency services. Slashing state funding for health care does four times as much damage, because we lose the ability to match millions of dollars of federal health care funding.
We understand the state is facing a budget crisis, but it is going to be nothing compared to the health care crisis that will affect everyone. The awful and simple truth about these cuts is that they will harm patients and the health care workers who care for them, as well as the institutions we have looked to for the preservation of our health and economy.
We have a commitment to provide quality care to everyone in the state, and we will continue to deliver the best care possible with the resources that we have available.
About the Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare
The Louisiana Ambulance Alliance, Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana State Medical Society, MedicineLouisiana and the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans formed the Coalition to Protect Louisiana’s Healthcare with the mission to protect healthcare services for the state’s most vulnerable patients.
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.
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. MedicineLouisiana 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.