health care

UPDATE: The state Office of Group Benefits announced on Oct. 1 -- the first day of the enrollment period for the new health insurance plans -- that the enrollment period will extend until Nov. 30 and the changes will take effect March 1, instead of Jan. 1. In a statement, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said, “Shifting our timeline will give people the chance to get accurate information and better understand their options.”  

The state House Appropriations Committee spent all day Thursday taking testimony about changes to health insurance plans offered for 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their family members through the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits.

The Legislative Fiscal Office had looked over the offerings and estimated maximum out-of-pocket costs for people covered through OGB could go up significantly, 47 percent on average, more than $1,600 per year for a single active employee.

The new plans are supposed to take effect in January. The enrollment period is slated to start next week.

Local Healthcare Sector Booms with Associate Degree Workers

Sep 22, 2014

Jobs that require only a two-year degree are the fastest growing in the healthcare sector. That’s especially true in the Baton Rouge area, according to the Brookings Institute. Roughly half of healthcare workers here have less than a bachelor’s degree, ranking Baton Rouge 17th among the top U.S. metros.

 


Congress is taking a look at veterans hospitals under construction — including the one taking shape in New Orleans.

It comes after a report found some medical centers are taking longer and costing more than estimated.

The House has passed a bill to increase oversight.

The report found some medical centers are taking three years longer to complete than estimated, and costing an extra $366 million per project.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is considering an appeal of Texas laws restricting access to abortions.

Covering the story for Houston Public Radio is health and science reporter Carrie Feibel.

The closure of Earl K. Long hospital last year with the privatization of Louisiana’s charity hospital system sent a wave of uninsured patients to Baton Rouge General.

Under the strain of their care, the hospital had decided to close its emergency room. But Baton Rouge General’s ER was rescued at the last-minute Wednesday.

Don Gregory, health policy advisor for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, explains whether that deserves a sigh of relief. 


The state Department of Health and Hospitals has found funds to allow Baton Rouge General Hospital to keep its emergency room open after an imminent threat of closure.

Several local media outlets reported Wednesday morning that the hospital administration had notified staff that the ER would close Nov. 1.

DHH preempted any official closure announcement with a last-minute deal, providing the hospital $18 million in state and federal money to care for the uninsured. Hospital President Mark Slyter called the deal a “hail Mary pass”.

The Lens

There is more to a child’s learning than strictly academics. Experts are learning more about factors like good nutrition or physical fitness, and how they impact children’s success. School-based healthcare centers take the idea further. They provide primary medical care, right on campus.  

So far, there are just five schools in New Orleans that offer those kinds of services. But one Mid-City high school is expanding its clinic, making it the first in the city open full-time to the whole school.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's revised financing plan for six LSU hospital privatization deals is running into questions from federal health officials who rejected a previous version.

The state health department on Wednesday released the three-page question letter from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.

Emma DiAnna

  Over the weekend, locals staged a protest at the new Hobby Lobby in Elmwood in reaction to the recent Supreme Court decision. The court upheld the company's right to refuse to cover certain forms of birth control.

The group of about 50 protesters stood on Clearview Parkway for hours on Saturday passing out leaflets supporting the right of women to have access to health insurance that includes certain forms of birth control. They held up signs saying “The Bible is not a health care plan” and “Honk if you have ovaries”.

Dr. Charles Wood, now a radiation oncologist at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, thought he was communicating well with all his patients while in training in Philadelphia a decade ago. But he found that twice as many non-white than white patients there believed they'd been treated in a clinical trial unknowingly.


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