Today, Governor Bobby Jindal, Fort Polk Brig. Gen. Clarence “K.K.” Chinn and Rapides Parish leaders signed a new Army Community Covenant with Fort Polk. The Army Community Covenant is an agreement with the State and Ft. Polk to assist communities in finding ways to support the military installation, and provides support for soldiers and families in finding access to additional programs; fosters effective state and community relationships to improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families; fill gaps and provide alternatives to Army services, and finds new programs to support geographically dispersed soldiers and families.
Leadership Lafayette Deadline Fast Approaching
Anyone interested in applying for Leadership Lafayette Class XV, must do so no later than Friday, October 28, 2011 by 4:00 PM.
A study released today by HealthGrades independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes, named Ochsner Medical Center and Ochsner Medical Center- West Bank Campus (both campuses of Ochsner Clinic Foundation) among the Best 100 Hospitals in the Nation in four specialties. Ochsner is the only hospital in Louisiana among the 100 Best for Stroke Care, Gastrointestinal Care, Critical Care and Pulmonary Care. Ochsner’s quality metrics include data from both Ochsner Medical Center and its West Bank Campus.
Overall, Ochsner achieved 19 Five-Star Ratings, six Specialty Excellence Awards and seven Best in State rankings. Ochsner’s ratings for 2012 are exceptional and expected for hospitals named HealthGrades Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence for the second consecutive year (2010-2011) in January. Ochsner achieved #1 in state rankings for Overall Cardiac Services, Cardiology Services, Treatment of Stroke for two years in a row (2011-2012), Overall Pulmonary Services, GI Services for three years in a row (2010-2012), GI Medical Treatment for three years in a row (2010-2012) and Critical Care in 2012. A complete summary of Ochsner’s achievements is included below.
According to the HealthGrades report, patients in the New Orleans area are increasingly seeking hospital quality information online, with over 230,000 patient visits to HealthGrades.com in the past year. And for good reason: choosing a hospital can be a life or death decision. HealthGrades’ report found that patients treated at five-star rated hospitals experience a 54% lower risk of mortality and a 43% lower risk of complications than the national average.
A quality comparison of doctors and hospitals in New Orleans area can be found online at www.HealthGrades.com. Information on overall hospital quality for 13 major medical specialties as well as the top five most searched medical specialties by patients in the New Orleans area can be found online at New Orleans Market Information.
“This latest recognition for nationally excellent medical care is confirmation of the superb efforts and hard work of our healthcare team,” said Dr. Patrick J. Quinlan, CEO of Ochsner Health System. “This report, when combined with many similar national awards, gives the public the necessary information to make wise decisions about their healthcare choices. This affirms the trust given for generations to Ochsner by so many patients and families.”
In addition to its 100 Best Specialty Care Awards, Ochsner achieved many other notable 2012 HealthGrades Clinical Achievements:
At the annual LWCC-Kids’ Chance Invitational Golf Tournament, held in September, Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) raised $38,000 to go toward scholarships for dependent children of workers who have been killed or permanently and totally disabled in a work-related accident.
LWCC presented a $38,000 check to the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Kids’ Chance scholarship program during a September 26 awards ceremony immediately following the tournament, held at the Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. Kids’ Chance Committee Co-Chairman Gary Knoepfler accepted the check on behalf of the charity.
Key to the Cure Gala
Key to the Cure Gala, the kickoff to a charity shopping weekend (Thursday-Sunday, October 20-23) during which 2% of sales at Saks will benefit the cancer research programs of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium.
The evening will feature delectable food from approximately 35 of New Orleans’ finest restaurants and caterers, a huge assortment of beverages compliments of Republic National Distributing Co., and great New Orleans-style entertainment on every level of the store including: Acoustic Swiftness, Treme Brass Band and Motown Review, to keep guests dancing all evening long.
Over the past 11 years, Saks stores nationwide have raised over $32 million for cancer charities through Key to the Cure. The New Orleans event has generated nearly $1.3 million locally, every penny of which went into cancer research here at home.
The kickoff is Saks Fifth Avenue New Orleans, 301 Canal Street, Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Key to the Cure tickets are $75.00. To purchase or for event information, call 504.293.2618 or visit
online at: http://www.lcrc.info/news/updates/kttc2011.html . Tickets can also be purchased (via check or cash) at the door on the evening of the Gala for the same price. Suggested dress: Business/Cocktail attire. Complimentary parking will be provided the night of the Gala courtesy of: Roger Ogden, Darryl and Louellen Berger and Family & The Garage at Canal Place.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), a statewide business organization, recently held a Board of Directors meeting in which the board adopted SUPPORT positions on three of the proposed constitutional amendments that will be considered on the fall ballots. The first two shown below, Proposed Amendment Nos. 3 and 4, will be voted on October 22; and the last one, Proposed Amendment No. 1, appears on the November 19 ballot (the only one on the ballot in November). The Board took No Position on the remaining proposed constitutional amendments.
ON THE OCTOBER 22, 2011 BALLOT:
PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 3 -- YES
Act No. 421 - House Bill No. 341, Regular Session, 2011
Establishes the Patient's Compensation Fund, for the use, benefit, and protection of medical malpractice claimants and private health care provider members; provides that assets of the fund shall not be state property. (Adds Article XII, Section 16.)
This amendment would help to keep medical costs lower by protecting the monies in the Louisiana Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF). It would clarify that:
1) The funds are available only to pay the claims of those injured by medical malpractice;
2) The state is expressly not responsible for the liabilities of the PCF; and
3) No state general funds could be used to pay PCF liabilities unless approved by the Legislature.
The PCF was created to provide affordable, medical malpractice coverage to private healthcare providers and to provide a certain, stable source of compensation for persons legitimately injured by medical malpractice. It has been around for 37 years. PCF funds are exclusively generated from surcharges paid by doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers.
As it stands, the Legislature can utilize the self-generated funds of the PCF as state general revenue. Recent court cases suggest that the money in the PCF could be swept into the state general fund because the PCF was created by the Legislature. If this constitutional amendment passes, the Legislature will not be able to appropriate the funds for another state purpose, ensuring that PCF monies are only used to take care of injured patients.
Currently, the state does not have to pay the claims of the PCF, and this constitutional amendment will clarify that the state has no obligation for any future claims. If the Legislature feels that a PCF funding crisis is driving doctors out of the state and threatening patients’ access to healthcare, it could vote an appropriation to help keep medical malpractice insurance rates low.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 4 -- YES
Act No. 424 - Senate Bill No. 147, Regular Session, 2011
To provide that if at any time mineral revenues exceed the base provided by law and monies are withdrawn from the Budget Stabilization Fund, no deposit of mineral revenues shall be made to the Budget Stabilization Fund in the same or ensuing fiscal year in which monies in the fund are appropriated or incorporated into the official forecast, except by specific legislative appropriation, and thereafter deposits of mineral revenues into the fund shall resume except in an annual amount not to exceed one-third of the most recent amount appropriated or incorporated into the official forecast. (Adds Article VII, Section 10.3(C)(5).)
In general, this proposal amends the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) as follows:
- Propose reforms designed to protect the long-term viability of the BSF
- Restrict mineral revenue deposits in the year of withdrawal and ensuing year.
- Thereafter, mineral revenue deposits continue in 1/3 installments, even if further amounts are withdrawn from the BSF – any shortfalls in mineral revenue deposits will be made up in future years
- No restrictions on deposits from other sources, such as surplus funds
- Proposed amendments in the statutory bill eliminate the “unconstitutional” provisions in the 2009 Act (litigation currently pending in 19th JDC).
- If passed, 1st installment of $66M would be due in FY12 (now)
PROPOSED AMENDMENT NO. 1 -- YES
Act No. 425 - House Bill No. 135, Regular Session, 2011
To prohibit the levy of new taxes or fees upon the sale or transfer of immovable property, including documentary transaction taxes or fees, or any other tax or fee, by the state or any of its political subdivisions after November 30, 2011. (November 30, 2011) (Adds Article VII, Section 2.3)
During the recent legislative session, this proposal was strongly supported by the Louisiana Realtors Association, in an effort to stop any future attempts to raise revenue by taxing real estate, as is becoming the trend in other states.
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