Friday, May 26, 2017

Summer Water and Swim Safety

Author: Dr. Raoult Ratard, State Epidemiologist

From the backyard or neighborhood pool, to the beach, local rivers, streams and lakes, Louisiana residents will begin flocking to the water beginning this Memorial Day weekend.

Before you dive in this summer, it’s important to know what may be lurking under the surface.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Poor health habits by Louisiana’s seniors lead to poor health rankings

Author: David J. Holcombe, M.D., M.S.A., Regional Medical Director, Region 6 (Alexandria Region)




In conjunction with America’s Health Rankings, there is a specific report issued annually for senior health for each state. America’s Health Rankings Senior Report for 2016 is the most recent report available and it usually parallels health rankings for Louisiana as a whole, with some exceptions. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It’s not enough to prepare for a hurricane

Your game plan must address other types of severe weather
Author: Kenyatta Esters, Emergency Preparedness Manager

When people think of severe weather in Louisiana, many immediately picture a menacing hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico taking aim for our state. It is true that Louisiana has experienced many tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes.  However, as many of us have witnessed recently, Louisiana also experiences catastrophic flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, heat waves, and even ice storms.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Improving Birth Outcomes in Louisiana

Author: Rebekah E. Gee, MD, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health

In an effort to create a generation of healthier women and children in Louisiana, our team at the Louisiana Department of Health initiated the Louisiana Birth Outcomes quality effort in 2010. The team, that included staff from Medicaid, the Office of Public Health, the Louisiana Perinatal Commission and other medical experts, began with the goal of eliminating medically unnecessary or elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation as one of its major strategies. Specifically, this included cesarean deliveries or inducing labor through medication. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Louisiana’s Medicaid eligibility expert retires

Career spent helping children and adults get access to health care services


Author: Jen Steele, Medicaid Director


Ruth Kennedy, a former Medicaid director with the Louisiana Department of Health, recently retired from our department. Ms. Kennedy is a nationally recognized expert in helping eligible individuals enroll in Medicaid services. Her expertise in designing and implementing outreach, enrollment and retention strategies resulted in Louisiana becoming a national leader in children’s coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or LaCHIP.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Colorectal Cancer: Still a problem

Author: David J. Holcombe, M.D., M.S.A., Regional Medical Director, Region 6 (Alexandria Region)

Colorectal cancer remains a significant problem in Louisiana.  Even though we have a highly effective screening method (i.e. colonoscopy), only 64.3% of adults over 50 have been screened. The inevitable result of low screening is a high number of new cases of colorectal cancer (3rd in the U.S.) and the 4th highest mortality rate among states.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

LDH Secretary Dr. Gee spoke to Jim Engster on Talk Louisiana this week and shared her thoughts on Medicaid expansion, budget cuts and more. Listen to her full interview.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Department of Health and Department of Corrections team up to provide health care coverage for newly released offenders

Pre-Release Medicaid Enrollment Program for Offender Population


Author: Jennifer Katzman, Medicaid Program Manager

Numerous studies show that access to mental health, substance use and other health care services helps former offenders better integrate back into their communities, lessening the likelihood of these individuals committing future crimes. Now, because of Medicaid expansion, the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Corrections are helping incarcerated individuals enroll into Medicaid, with coverage beginning once the individual’s sentence is complete and they transition out of prison.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Service is the American Dream

Author: SreyRam Kuy, MD, Medicaid Medical Director

A doctor, a sheriff and a Marine walk into a room…

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but actually, this was my experience as part of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a civic leadership program between the Clinton Presidential Center, George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. 

In 2017, I was selected to participate in the program and it was a tremendous opportunity to witness young leaders from very different backgrounds, to come together and find common ground. My class consists of a diverse group of 60 emerging leaders, including a judge, a poet, a Green Beret, a hedge fund manager, a baker and a surgeon. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Louisiana beginning to see cases of mumps: Health experts offer tips to avoid getting sick

 Author: Parham Jaberi, MD, Assistant State Health Officer

Some cases of the mumps are beginning to appear in Louisiana. Due to a large outbreak in our neighboring state, Arkansas, we’re following the cases here in Louisiana closely.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Well-Ahead Louisiana helps students Kick Butts – School courtyard turns into graveyard

Author: Melissa R. Martin, Office of Public Health

Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health recently helped East Baton Rouge Parish students Kick Butts.

Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Schools across America participate in interactive activities and events that empower youth to stand up, speak out and seize control against Big Tobacco – and commit to stay tobacco-free. 

In partnership with the East Baton Rouge Student Alliance Council (SAC), Well-Ahead Louisiana organized eight Kick Butts Day events at local high schools: Broadmoor High, McKinley High, Woodlawn High, Northdale High, Glen Oaks High, Scotlandville High, Lee High, and Belaire High.  The SAC developed two interactive Kick Butts activities – Smoker’s Obstacle Course and Body Bag for a Cigarette.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Just because you’re on the Waiting List doesn’t mean you need to wait for services

Other services available for people on the NOW waiver

Author: Mark A. Thomas, Assistant Secretary, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities

When I began my career, as a direct support professional in the field of disability services more than 20 years ago, one of the biggest challenges facing families and individuals with disabilities who were seeking services was the Request for Services Registry. Most people called this the waiting list for the NOW waiver (New Opportunities Waiver). Today, in my role as the Assistant Secretary for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, the waiting list, which is approaching 15,000 people, is still an issue. I recognize that change is needed and I'm pleased to share news about the progress we've made. 

Over the last several years, the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities has been working in collaboration with recipients, families, advocates and stakeholders to improve our service delivery system through a system transformation initiative. Our staff has been aggressively pursuing a variety of best practices that will allow us to serve more people in home and community-based settings. Critical to this is addressing the waiting list through our Request for Services Registry Screening Project. Through this project, we'll be able to better understand the needs of those waiting and ensure they are directed to other helpful resources and services. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Louisiana Department of Health launches Medicaid Expansion Dashboard

Author: Andrew Tuozzolo, Chief of Staff

As the Louisiana Department of Health undertook Medicaid expansion in 2016, we focused on making the process as efficient and transparent as possible. To demonstrate the outcomes and success of expansion, Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, challenged the agency to build an online dashboard to present real-time data in an easy to understand format. Taking up Dr. Gee’s charge, a team was formed that leveraged the expertise of Medicaid leaders, data analysts, developers, and communications staff. 
http://www.ldh.la.gov/HealthyLaDashboard/

Monday, February 20, 2017

Louisiana Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee responds to Sen. Kennedy on Medicaid

Author: Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary

Medicaid expansion is covering hundreds of thousands more working adults and ensuring they have access to primary care. In addition, Medicaid Expansion is bringing in more federal tax dollars to our state and saving Louisiana taxpayers $184 million.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

North Baton Rouge ER Groundbreaking

Author: Michelle Alletto, Deputy Secretary

The Louisiana Department of Health joined elected officials, community leaders, and representatives from Our Lady of the Lake on January 31, 2017 for the North Baton Rouge ER Groundbreaking.

The Our Lady of the Lake North Emergency Room is expected to open in October of 2017. The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by emergency physicians who specialize in providing comprehensive emergency care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries.

Naloxone now available for emergency overdose treatment via standing order

Author: Dr. SreyRam Kuy, Medicaid Medical Director

Louisiana is ranked first in opioid prescribing of all 50 states. The Louisiana Department of Health continues to work with partners throughout the state to address the opioid epidemic and develop potential solutions. 

The State of Louisiana recently issued a “standing order” for naloxone. Naloxone is an antidote medication that reverses an opioid overdose. Used by medical professionals for years, naloxone is the most effective way to counteract an overdose and save lives.

Keeping Your Drinking Water Safe

Author: Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer


Access to safe, clean drinking water is one of the hallmarks of modern society. Here at the Louisiana Department of Health, we have a whole team dedicated to making sure that drinking water systems in the state are doing their jobs in providing clean water to their customers. One program in particular assists water systems in their quest to improve water quality: the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.