Tuesday, 11 January 2011 19:56

Louisiana Business: BioTech Event, Medicaid Freeze, Nichols St, New Orleans Music

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Louisiana Business For today-- A bio-tech annual luncheon, Louisiana freezing medicaid, New Orleans music, Nicholls St. directory, Louisiana Community and Technical College




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Below are the details:

Opening Remarks by
Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, International
Affairs, Finance, Health & Welfare Committees

Keynote Address by
Harris J. and Marie P. Chustz Distinguished Professor in Business Administration
Louisiana State University

Friday, January 14, 2011
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Westin Canal Place/Ballroom II
111 Iberville Street New Orleans, Louisiana

Reserved tables for 8, $400; Single tickets, $50
Tickets can be purchased through PayPal on the BioDistrict website

Nicholls State Resource Center

Find information and quick referrals on coastal recovery; smoking cessation programs; youth and elderly abuse services; substance abuse programs; social services; food programs; counseling; homeless options; parenting; rent and utility assistance; crisis intervention; church listings and more in the 2011 edition of the Directory of Community Resources – a 100-page desk reference provided by the Family Resource Center at Nicholls State University.

“The directory is the finale of semester work from students in partial fulfillment of class requirements,” Gail Brigham, program coordinator, said. “It provides details and updated information on the many community resources available.”

This year’s directory contains 30 new entries of not-for-profit offices and agencies that serve the residents of Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes.

The directory is $18 for onsite pick-up or $20 if mailed. All proceeds will benefit the Family Resource Center, one of the community projects offered by the Department of Psychology and Counselor Education at Nicholls. To order a copy for an individual, social service agency, business, church or civic organization, contact Family Resource Center at (985) 448-4307 – or mail your check to Nicholls State University, P.O. Box 2014, Thibodaux, LA 70310. Outside Thibodaux and within the state of Louisiana, call (800) 259-8226.

The Directory of Community Resources is an annual publication of Nicholls State University.

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Music Education

Heritage School of Music Auditions: Jan. 15

The Heritage School is looking for new students to participate in our free jazz education program, the Heritage School of Music. Auditions are at 10 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 15, at Dillard University. See below for details.



The Louisiana Community and Technical College

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) has been selected as one of 40 community colleges to pilot a new Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) that is designed to redefine what "success" means for two-year institutions nationwide. The VFA represents the first national system to provide accurate data, operational transparency and the ability for colleges to benchmark student progress and completion data against peer institutions.

The VFA is being developed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in collaboration with the Association of Community College Trustees and the College Board and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education.

The pilot colleges include 37 institutions, two statewide systems and one multi-college district in 29 states. (A complete list of colleges follows.) Starting in mid-January, the VFA pilot colleges will test a series of custom metrics that community college professionals developed over the last several months. The project fills what community college advocates have seen as a void in measures appropriate to the unique two-year college mission.

"LCTCS is pleased to participate in this much needed study to advance accountability standards and measures for community and technical colleges," said LCTCS President Dr. Joe D. May. "While the current method of obtaining and analyzing data is sufficient for higher education in some regards as it focuses on the number of degrees awarded, it is not specifically tailored to the unique needs of community colleges. To accurately tell our story and depict the services we provide, it must take into consideration the number of students we touch each year and the number of people we help put to work. This study is a first step in helping us change that fact and truly tell the success of Louisiana's community and technical colleges."

VFA pilot colleges will work from a draft technical manual developed by four VFA working groups, a technical committee, and a national steering committee made up of veteran research experts and educators from within the college community. (See link to VFA website for a list of committee members.) Project leaders are developing the VFA in stages so that they can release and test core measures for which there is broad consensus on technical definitions and available data. Additional measures will be proposed as the participants report outcomes and assess how well they gauge institutional effectiveness.


Medicaid Freeze

 Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein on Monday announced a freeze on Medicaid provider rate reductions for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year and eliminated an original reduction in the hospital “outlier” program.

Also, Greenstein announced the withdrawal of emergency rules that would have implemented rate reductions in the Medicaid budget effective Dec.1, 2010. The move was taken to ensure clarity for providers over a second set of cost-saving and efficiency-generating rules DHH submitted that took effect Jan. 1, 2011 and remain in effect. 

Secretary Greenstein also withdrew the emergency rule for the hospital outlier program, which provides funding for the care of premature, low-birth weight babies. Greenstein’s action comes during the tremendous progress that the Department and the hospital industry have made in reforming that program to ensure sustainability into the future.

“I have said from day one that we are here to work together with the state’s health care providers to find the best ways to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars while maintaining critical access to care for our Medicaid patients,” Secretary Greenstein. “Today’s announcement is a culmination of many meetings where we have listened to providers and sought new ideas. Working together with the hospitals, rather than against each other, I believe is the best solution for the people of Louisiana.”

Louisiana Hospital Association John Matessino, as well as other health care providers, applauded recent progress to protect critical health care services

“The announcement today by Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein to rescind the December 2010 emergency rules cutting hospitals; to rescind the January 2011 outlier emergency rule, which would have cut funding for services to some of the most delicate and vulnerable patients; and to declare a moratorium on any further cuts to hospitals this current fiscal year is welcome news,” Matessino said. “Any effort by the Administration and Secretary Greenstein to help our hospitals and other providers weather this budget storm is appreciated.”


Louisiana State Medical Society President Dr. Pat Breaux, added, “We are extremely pleased by the Secretary’s announcement today to further reduce the impact of budget reductions on providers. And, we are encouraged by his willingness to hear feedback and the on-the-ground perspective of providers. We are sensitive to the budget realities faced by the state, but we feel this step will allow for continuity and preserved access in the Medicaid program. We look forward to continued work together on the state’s budget picture as well as implementing a pluralistic system of health care for Medicaid.”

Tyron Picard, executive vice president of Legal and Government Affairs with Acadian Companies, the state’s largest emergency medical transport service said, “As difficult as it is for the ambulance industry to deal with the mid-year cuts, we are very appreciative of the Secretary’s hours of time spent with providers and understanding the effect of these cuts and his commitment that there will be no additional rate cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year. The provider community looks forward to continuing the discussion with the Secretary to hopefully solve these cyclical funding issues we face by creating a new delivery model which will not only result in improved health outcomes, but also reduce and contain the costs of care to the state as a result of a healthier Louisiana.”

Ricky T. Guidry, RPh, chairman and founder of the Louisiana Independent Pharmacists Association stated, "Community pharmacists have worked to help improve the health of our patients and to help them manage their prescription drug needs in order to offer them the best health care and maximize affordability. We understand the budgetary restrictions on a household and a small business, and we appreciate the state joining us in helping maintain the delivery of pharmacy health care to the patient. The current level of funding is the minimum necessary to maintain drug delivery."

In addition to the measures announced today, DHH is also working with the hospital industry to provide critical services by accelerating a new Upper Payment Limit (UPL) program. Under this program, UPL agreements transfer health programs for the poor and needy from public institutions to private hospitals, freeing up state general funds. These funds can then be used to draw down additional Medicaid dollars for the private hospitals in exchange for the provision of these health services. Already, since early December, sixteen hospitals that have entered into such agreements have received $27 million in supplemental payments.

Secretary Greenstein also noted that significant progress is being made in developing a strategy to reform Medicaid. DHH officials have been working closely with stakeholders, like the LHA, to improve the state’s Making Medicaid Better initiative. Under the initiative, the management of Medicaid enrollees’ care will be transferred to Coordinated Care Networks (CCNs) to ensure a focus on preventive and primary care instead of the traditional fee-for-service payment arrangement Medicaid currently operates. Several key changes have been made to the plan since the collaboration began. They include:

The establishment of a rate floor to prevent CCNs from cutting rates to achieve savings.

The establishment of a medical loss ratio to ensure a certain percentage of dollars goes directly to patient care and limits the profit a private insurer can make from the program;

A limit on the number of CCNs that can operate in the state by setting up a Request For Proposal process to select networks.

The implementation of prompt pay requirements for CCNs to ensure providers receive timely reimbursements for services. 

The carving out of Graduate Medical Education funding paid to hospitals outside the CNNs

An enhanced appeals process for denied claims

The LHA also indicated they will be offering a coordinated care proposal to cover high-cost populations currently excluded from the CCN program.

Matesino added, “Hospitals across Louisiana are ready and willing to work collaboratively and openly with the Administration, the legislature, DHH and other healthcare providers on viable alternatives in order to protect access to care for our most vulnerable patients and recognize the events today as meaningful progress.”


With the measures announced today, a second set of emergency rules that outline rate reductions effective Jan. 1, 2011, remain in effect, except for the previously-mentioned rule related to the outlier payments.. The reductions were required after $50 million in unfunded utilization was recognized in October 2010.

(DHH Press release)

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