Today, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) releases its outcomes report from its fiscal year (FY) 2022 business plan, and its second business plan, detailing key initiatives and policy goals for FY 2023.

According to the outcomes report for the FY 2022 business plan, LDH successfully completed 95% of all deliverables and met 88% of its goals.

The FY 2023 business plan titled “Invest: Teaming Up for a Stronger LDH and a Healthier Louisiana,” contains 18 initiatives, 45 goals and 253 deliverables under five major commitments that will measure progress and provide accountability to Louisiana residents and stakeholders.

“I am proud to see the progress made at the Louisiana Department of Health over the last year, and I appreciate the effort to measure and report that progress in an understandable and transparent way,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Dr. Phillips and her team are continuing the Department’s improvements with the launch of their new business plan, which will deliver real results for Louisianans, including expanded and improved quality of healthcare outcomes and services. I appreciate the commitment to making us a stronger and healthier state.”

“After closing out a highly successful year of work, #TeamLDH has laid the groundwork for an even more promising 2023,” said Secretary Phillips. “Strategic planning by the agency and its community partners and stakeholders delivers measurable results. Our FY 2023 business plan will advance our efforts in vital areas, including behavioral, maternal, and dental health; chronic disease; workforce expansion and diversification; and transparency and accountability.” 

The FY 2023 plan relies on partnerships with Louisiana schools and institutions of higher education to expand and diversify Louisiana’s healthcare workforce; as well as collaboration with local providers to further move the needle on chronic conditions like colorectal cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, while also targeting cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Sickle Cell Disease. LDH also will leverage relationships with nonprofit organizations and other state agencies to increase access to nutritious foods and safe physical activity, and expand Medicaid access to smoking cessation programs for those seeking to quit. 

Additionally, the FY 2023 business plan initiatives will include continued work with the Louisiana Perinatal Quality Collaborative (LaPQC) to make improvements in maternal health, and collaboration with legislators and providers to expand behavioral health crisis intervention services, now in place for adults, to also encompass adolescents. 

Here is a look at the FY 2023 commitments and initiatives:

Improve Health and Well-being across the Lifespan of Louisianans

LDH is committed to protecting and promoting health across the lifespan of all Louisianans, a mission that aligns with the World Health Organization’s definition of health: “a state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The initiatives in this area are:

  • Improve Health Outcomes in Pregnancy and through Childhood 
  • Improve Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment of Chronic Diseases
  • Increase Availability of Behavioral Health Services
  • Increase Access to Dental Services for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Support Vulnerable and Underserved Populations

LDH’s mission of providing equitable, accessible healthcare is bolstered by continuous improvement in health systems and service delivery, from the safety of the water we drink to the safeguarding of our older adults in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. Such investments benefit all Louisianans across the lifespan, including our most vulnerable and underserved residents. The initiatives in this area are:

  • Improve Systems to Support People Living with Sickle Cell Disease
  • Increase and Strengthen Service Delivery for Vulnerable Residents 
  • Protect the Health, Safety, and Welfare of Nursing Home Residents in Louisiana
  • Improve the Sustainability of Public Water Systems

Invest in and Empower #TeamLDH

Cultivating such a skilled workforce requires continual investment in our team members as well as bolstering our team with new talent. Building on the momentum of the FY22 business plan, LDH will continue pursuing programs that will support and strengthen its workforce, and ensuring that our team members are actively involved in building and sustaining an equitable work environment. The initiatives in this area are:

  • Improve #TeamLDH Culture, Recruitment, and Retention
  • Expand Workforce Development Training Program

Improve Performance, Accountability, and Compliance

LDH made significant progress in promoting transparency, accountability, and compliance of program processes in the FY 2022 business plan, and will build on this momentum in FY 2023. The development of quality improvement (QI) processes will strengthen the efficiency of program activities and provide objective measures of achievement. The initiatives in this area are:

  • Establish an LDH Annual Quality Improvement Process 
  • Develop and Implement a Process to Reduce External Audit Findings
  • Advance Prevention of Medicaid Fraud and Waste
  • Develop Sustainable, Equitable, and Comprehensive Supplemental Payment Systems

Strengthen Customer Service, Partnerships and Community Relations

LDH will continue working in close communication and partnership with the individuals and communities we serve. Ongoing community engagement enables a deeper understanding of our residents’ needs, allowing us to better address the social determinants of health impacting the health outcomes of our residents. The initiatives in this area are:

  • Establish the Office of Women’s Health and Community Health 
  • Build Statewide Capacity to Engage in Systemic Health Equity Work 
  • Strengthen, Expand, and Diversify Louisiana’s Healthcare Workforce
  • Expand Collaborations with Community Partners 

The full FY 2022 outcomes report and FY 2023 business plan can be reviewed at ldh.la.gov/businessplan.  

Messages from Stakeholders: 

“Family is central to life in Louisiana and, of course, children play an important role both in our culture and the future of our state. I am grateful that the Louisiana Department of Health is prioritizing the emotional and behavioral health and wellbeing of our children by developing an action plan to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma. As more families throughout Louisiana contend with trauma related to the pandemic and natural disasters, we must provide our youngest Louisianans with the support they need.”

— Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards

“I applaud the Louisiana Department of Health for creating and implementing annual agency-wide business plans with clear, measurable goals to improve health services and outcomes in Louisiana. I am encouraged by the substantial progress made in key areas — including prevention and early detection of chronic illness, maternal health and behavioral health — through the FY22 plan. I am even more encouraged by the Department’s continued commitment to build on that work with the FY23 plan. With the FY22 plan, LDH planted seeds for a healthier Louisiana and those seeds have taken root. I am eager to see how growth continues this coming year, leading to a stronger, healthier Louisiana.”

— Rep. Larry Bagley, Chairman, House Health and Welfare Committee

“This business plan builds on last year’s roadmap for the Louisiana Department of Health, and is highly ambitious in its scope and in delivering results for Louisianans. LDH must continue to be focused on health outcomes and to be dedicated to removing the barriers that have challenged us in the past. I trust that with this plan we will build healthier and thriving communities.”

— Sen. Fred Mills Jr., Chairman, Senate Health and Welfare Committee

“Creating an Office of Women’s Health and Community Health was a long time coming, and took deliberate planning and research to make it happen. Now we are in a position to make this office a reality. As we do that, I appreciate the Department’s commitment to engaging with residents and communities. This dialogue will inform and shape the work of creating this office over the next year as we dedicate ourselves to improving health outcomes for women of all ages in Louisiana.”

— Sen. Regina Barrow, District 15

“The Department did tremendous work last fiscal year creating 16 new community-based blood pressure monitoring sites and diabetes prevention programs in our communities. This year, it’s exciting to see that work continue with an ambitious goal to increase the number of participants screened, including at pop-up sites the Department will work to create with community coalitions across Louisiana.”

— Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, District 24

“This business plan builds on the impressive work that the Louisiana Department of Health has done over the past two years providing dental care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Now we are moving forward on a dental program for residents of intermediate care facilities, which will touch so many families — including my own. The Department’s partnership with the Louisiana Dental Task Force for Adults with Developmental Disabilities and the Louisiana Dental Association has been key to these efforts, and I appreciate the Department’s commitment to working together to get results for our most vulnerable residents.”

— Rep. Rhonda Butler, District 38

“We can’t reach our goals without engaging our communities in solving the root causes of health inequity, so I’m looking forward to new collaborations with HBCUs and other institutions of higher education this year that will help us diversify our healthcare workforce. We know that a diverse healthcare workforce is a more compassionate workforce, and one that is better prepared to reach our health equity goals over the long term and in a sustainable way.”

— Rep. Jason Hughes, District 100

“The Louisiana Department of Health is continuing its tradition of pursuing partnerships this fiscal year with exciting collaborations that I know will create innovative initiatives to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce and pursue violence intervention in healthcare settings. It’s encouraging to see the Department taking concrete steps toward some of our most pressing issues, recognizing that we are better when we collaborate on solutions with a variety of experts and community leaders.”

— Rep. Vanessa Caston LaFleur, District 101

“The diversity of Louisiana’s population has led to a culture that boasts some of the most celebrated food, music, and traditions in the world. Research shows that diversity can also play a role in improving health services and outcomes. When we develop and nurture a healthcare workforce that reflects our state population, we can expect better healthcare policies and services for our state. I applaud LDH’s work to recruit and mentor more clinicians of color. Along with improving healthcare, LDH’s efforts to diversify and expand our workforce at large can help ensure that we have enough workers in our rural areas to deliver care to residents who struggle to access services.”

— Rep. Dustin Miller, District 40

“Creating and implementing a new payment model for hospital Medicaid reimbursements was a monumental feat. I am heartened by LDH’s work with our legislative body and stakeholders to develop a supplemental payment system that meets guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) while continuing to benefit Louisiana Medicaid members. Together, we created a strong model that ensures reimbursements are based on use of Medicaid services and is sustainable and equitable for hospital providers.”

— Sen. Bodi White, District 6

“As the Department begins to assign letter grades to water systems in 2023, communities will gain much greater visibility into the quality of the water they are drinking. Quality water is essential to overall health, so I’m hopeful that water systems across Louisiana will begin taking advantage of the new funding options laid out in this year’s business plan. It is critical to upgrade our infrastructure to ensure the health of all our communities for the long term.” 

— Rep. Jerome Zeringue, District 52, & Rep. Mike Reese, District 30

“Louisiana residents with disabilities living in all settings need and deserve the highest quality care possible. A stable and skilled workforce is required for these individuals to live and work as independently as possible. Yet, this essential workforce is in crisis and cannot meet rising demand. We are pleased that LDH has actively worked over the past year to reduce turnover among direct support professionals. We are excited about the Department’s goals to further reduce turnover among this critical segment of our healthcare workforce, with the ultimate goal to better serve and care for our most vulnerable.”

— Laurie Boswell, President of the Community Provider Association

“Home- and community-based programs are a critical resource for Louisiana’s more vulnerable populations, including older adults. The Community Choices Waiver (CCW) provides Medicaid in-home and community-based services as an alternative to nursing home care for older adults and people who acquire a disability in adulthood. We are excited that LDH plans to improve the process for accessing these vital services and extend those options to more of Louisiana’s older adult population.”

— Denise Bottcher, State Director, AARP

“I am excited to continue working with LDH to further develop our Medicaid analyst workforce, which is vital to LDH operations and providing health services for vulnerable Louisiana residents. Together, we met a goal of recruiting 100 analysts through the FY22 launch of the Workforce Development Training Program. I look forward to continued partnership with the Department as we build on lessons and successes of the past year to further grow a strong, statewide team of analysts. A key part of this program involves filling a percentage of these positions with Medicaid enrollees, which adds a unique layer of knowledge and empathy to our team.”

— Byron P. Decoteau Jr., Director of Louisiana State Civil Service

“The LDA is pleased to partner with LDH to inform all dental providers in Louisiana about the new waiver program. It is our hope that together we can create a large network of providers who are offering comprehensive dental services through Medicaid to residents with intellectual/developmental disabilities.”

— Annette Droddy, Executive Director of the Louisiana Dental Association

“The Louisiana Dental Task Force is encouraged by LDH’s continued commitment to provide and improve access to comprehensive dental services for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Many adults living with severe and profound intellectual disabilities, as well as those with behavioral issues, have an aversion to probing in their mouth or are unable to cooperate to allow for proper teeth brushing or general exams, cleaning, and X-rays, and, therefore, require anesthesia or IV sedation in order to receive these services. To meet the needs of this population, we need a much larger network of providers to offer these critical services. We are pleased that LDH will take significant steps to boost the number of providers trained to attend to adults with severe disabilities, allowing more Louisiana residents to enjoy better oral health and ultimately lead healthier lives.”

— Kathy Dwyer, Chair, Louisiana Dental Task Force for Adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

“Chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) negatively impact Louisiana lives on a daily basis, leading to disability, debilitating illness, and even death. We can prevent or reduce the impacts of many of these conditions through healthier lifestyle choices, but these healthier choices are not available or easily accessible to everyone. We are proud to partner with LDH’s Well-Ahead Louisiana to make hypertension prevention and detection programs, nutritious food, and physical activity more readily available and accessible to a range of Louisiana residents. These options are essential to creating a stronger, healthier Louisiana.”

— Gabrielle Juneau, CEO of Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center 

“The new 988 suicide prevention hotline offers a critical source of support 24/7, free of charge, but too many Louisiana residents remain unaware of this crucial resource. As residents are struggling more than ever with mental health needs, I am pleased that LDH will focus on promoting this important tool, with plans to launch a media campaign aimed at reaching some of our most vulnerable Louisianans.”

— Tonja Myles, Certified Peer Support Specialist, Set Free Indeed Ministry

“Young people across our state and country are struggling with mental health issues, especially since the start of the pandemic. I am heartened that the Louisiana Department of Health is committed to expanding behavioral health crisis intervention services to encompass adolescents. This comprehensive, community-based crisis care system represents a substantial move in the right direction in terms of how we view mental health needs, as well as how we address those needs. It is essential to expand and improve behavioral health services for youth, and I applaud LDH for prioritizing these needs.

— Susan East Nelson, J.D., Executive Director of the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families

“Expanding behavioral health crisis intervention services to include adolescents is essential to promoting overall health and improving quality of life in Louisiana. This represents the next wave of a culture change that began with implementing a crisis care response system for adults. That important culture change will extend to our adolescents, providing Louisiana youth with appropriate care while continuing to lessen our reliance on police and emergency departments for behavioral health needs. Our state’s adolescents and teens were struggling with mental health issues and substance use disorders prior to the pandemic. A growing mental health crisis among youth, both nationwide and in Louisiana, has expanded the need for crisis support services for our young people. I applaud LDH’s decision to develop a framework for expanding access to community-based crisis care to young Louisiana residents.”

— Jan Tarantino, LMSW, RHD Regional Director, Behavioral Health and Housing Division, Resources for Human Development, Inc.