health care

The Medicaid Waiver Waiting Game

Apr 20, 2015

Last year, groups advocating for Louisianians with developmental disabilities sought and won an expansion of supports through Medicaid waivers. But when mid-year cuts to the state budget were enacted, those waiver slots were frozen. Rhiannon Traigle is one of many parents asking the legislature to lift the freeze.

While Chiffonda Hampton was serving three years in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, she met Tonja Myles, a Peer Support Specialist with Capital Area Human Services. Myles was offering wellness classes to inmates with mental illness. Those classes taught Hampton how to cope with the anger of being abused as a child and basic life skills she had never learned before. Now that Hampton is out of prison, she continues to check in with Myles at CAHS.

“Is your hospital next?” asked a sign prominently displayed during a February 11 rally on the state Capitol steps, protesting the planned closure of Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Emergency Room. With that ER shutting down tomorrow—an unintended consequence of privatizing Louisiana’s charity hospital system—it’s a question that continues to trouble Baton Rouge Rep. Patricia Smith.

Urgent Care Not Emergency Care

Mar 2, 2015

After the nearby charity hospital, Earl K. Long, was shut down, Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Emergency Room took on more patients. And, in 2013, LSU Health’s Urgent Care Clinic in North Baton Rouge opened. But, the sign on the urgent care clinic’s door reads, “NO EMERGENCY ROOM.”

Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary sits on the northern edge of East Baton Rouge Parish. Ochsner on O’Neal Lane and Our Lady of the Lake on Essen are both about 20 miles to the south.  

There will be no emergency room in between once Baton Rouge General at Mid City closes their ER sometime between April and May.  That means ambulances will have farther to travel. 

For the first time, Baton Rouge General Medical Center is hosting insurance navigators, trained to offer assistance to anyone who wants to buy health care coverage through the federal marketplace, which is now in its second year.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

When you are down on your luck in Louisiana, dental care can be hard to come by. Medicare doesn’t cover it for adults, so many low-income people have to rely on volunteer dentists and special clinics that often have long waitlists. In Covington, the Food Bank has made helping these people a priority.

The Food Bank provides food for those in need, but they also have a thrift store, an emergency assistance center and a dental clinic. They call these their “core ministries,” and hope the services target the community’s primary needs.

It’s that time of year — the open enrollment period for health plans.

In the second year of insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, premiums in Louisiana, as elsewhere, will be higher on average.

“And there are some understandable reasons for that," said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. The No. 1 reason is that insurers can no longer turn away people with pre-existing conditions. "They have to take all comers."

With a battle cry of “Repeal Obamacare”, Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate earlier this month. Wrangling in Washington over when—or if—to actually act on that campaign promise is part of the backdrop to Louisiana’s Senate runoff.

Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

There are a number of New Orleans businesses that are as much a part of the unique vocabulary of New Orleanians as "muffuletta" and "poboy." Some of them — like K&B and Schwegmans  — are in the "aint dere no more" category. One New Orleans institution that is still here is what we call either "Oxner" or "Oshner." However you say it, everybody in New Orleans knows what you mean. Its real title is Ochsner Health System.