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.