Dept. Takes Next Steps in Seeking Federal Approval for Public-Private Partnerships

Baton Rouge, La.(Dept. of Health & Hospitals)  - On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals initiated a process that will allow the State to submit a new state plan amendment for the public-private partnerships to the federal government on Friday. DHH submitted an emergency rule for the reimbursement of Louisiana Low-Income Academic Hospitals to the Division of Administration's Office of State Register. 

The rule is the first step in submitting a new state plan amendment to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that will replace the state plan amendments CMS disapproved earlier this month. DHH has had several discussions with CMS since the initial state plan amendments were rejected on May 2, 2014 and believes that the new state plan amendment will address CMS's concerns and will meet the requirements for approval.

DHH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert said, "Our discussions with CMS officials over the last few weeks have been incredibly helpful in crafting this new emergency rule and a new state plan amendment. CMS affirmed that the partnerships are a workable model to serve Louisiana's uninsured and low-income residents. I am hopeful that the new state plan amendment we will submit Friday will satisfy the federal government's requests for a sound reimbursement methodology and ensure the sustainability of these critical reforms."

The public-private partnership hospitals are sustaining and improving access to safety net care across Louisiana.  Specifically, the partnerships are resulting in increased urgent care and emergency room access, upgraded trauma centers, increased hospital capacity, reduced MRI and CT appointment wait times, expanded specialty care access, reduced wait times for prescription drugs, and improved graduate medical education programs.

The first step in submitting a new state plan amendment to CMS is the publication of a public notice through the State's administrative rulemaking process in the Louisiana State Register and public process notice in newspapers across the state. Previously, DHH had an active emergency rule for the public-private partnerships that designated specific reimbursement methodologies for each partner hospital. 

The new emergency rules clearly outline the reimbursement methodology for hospitals that disproportionately serve Louisiana's low-income residents while maintaining graduate medical residencies at certain levels.

In addition to the administrative rule-making requirements of the state, DHH issued a Public Process Notice that will be published on Friday in Louisiana's eight largest newspapers across the state. After those notices appear on Friday, the Department will submit the new state plan amendment to CMS for consideration. 

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