Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, speaks to the Buteaux family at University Medical Center in New Orleans to announce the state's expansion of the Medicaid program.
Thousands of people in Louisiana are eligible for health care coverage following Gov. John Bel Edwards' health care expansion to the state's working poor. Edwards signed the executive order expanding Medicaid coverage on January 12, his first full day of office. Enrollment is now open and coverage begins July 1. The state now is working to get 375,000 people enrolled — Edwards and Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee say more than 175,000 people already are enrolled.
The program under the Affordable Care Act covers people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $16,200 for a single adult, $33,400 for a family of four). Edwards says the expansion — blocked by former Gov. Bobby Jindal and legislators in previous years — will save the state millions of dollars, including more than $180 million budgeted in the fiscal year beginning next month. The feds fully fund the program through 2016.
People can apply via healthy.la.gov or by calling (888) 342-6207. Enrollment in the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) also can be used to determine Medicaid eligibility, which officials say will help speed up the process of getting people signed on to the program. A list of enrollment sites can be found here.
The Louisiana State Senate on Tuesday voted on a bill that would triple the waiting time for women seeking abortions, bringing the policy one step closer to law.
Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, a Republican, House Bill 386 requires that women wait 72 hours between a state-mandated counseling session ahead of an abortion and the scheduled procedure. Current law says women must wait 24 hours.
The bill also requires a doctor perform an ultrasound so the woman may see the fetus on through images on the screen and hear the heartbeat. She is then to be offered an ultrasound photograph.
One of the most heated political battles of the current legislative session pits doctors against physical therapists. The two groups of medical professionals are squaring off over state Sen. Fred Mills’ bill to allow patients “direct access” to physical therapy without a doctor’s referral.
Current law in Louisiana requires patients who could benefit from physical therapy to get a doctor’s referral first. The vast majority of other states allow patients to access physical therapy without a doctor’s referral.
Mills, R-Parks, and other supporters of his Senate Bill 291 say the measure would save time and money — and improve patient care by letting people get needed physical therapy immediately, before their conditions worsen. They note that patients often have to wait weeks before they can see specialists who ultimately refer them to physical therapy anyway — but during that interim a relatively minor injury can get a lot worse.
NOLA Bike to Work Day returns for its fifth installment on Wednesday, April 13, when "bike trains" of commuters will form across the city to ride to work together. Riders can join neighborhood meetups (listed on the Bike Easy website) or convene at Lafayette Square from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., where they'll meet fellow cyclists and enjoy coffee and bike-related swag from sponsors.
Responding to a health crisis that kills more than 40 people in the U.S. daily, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) awarded three Louisiana health centers — including two in the New Orleans area — more than $1 million to treat opioid addiction and abuse in underserved populations.
Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority in Metairie will receive $325,000, Marillac Community Health Centers in New Orleans will receive $406,250, and Lake Charles' SWLA Health Centers will receive $406,250. The awards are part of a $94 million Affordable Care Act package with awards heading to more than 250 health centers nationwide.
"The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment and integrating these services in health centers bolsters nationwide efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse, supports approximately 124,000 new patients accessing substance use treatment for recovery and helps save lives.”
The New Orleans' Health Department has made naloxone — which can reverse the effects of a heroin or opiate overdose — available without a prescription at the University Medical Center (UMC) Outpatient Pharmacy (2000 Canal St.). The city issued a public health advisory following a rise in overdoses in 2016 as Mardi Gras nears.
In 2014 and 2015, New Orleans EMS noticed a significant rise in heroin and opiate overdoses. Since Jan. 8, EMS responded to double the number of calls per day than it did in previous weeks, according to the city. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune reports EMS crews this month are responding to as many as five — and one one day, 10 — overdoses a day.
That increase prompted the City’s Health Department to issue the advisory. City Medical Director Joseph Kanter issued a standing order allowing over-the-counter purchases of naloxone exclusively via UMC.
Steve Gleason has worked hard to make people aware of ALS and to raise money for research.
Researchers have found a naturally occurring protein that could open a pathway for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
A research paper written by J. Gavin Daigle, a doctoral candidate at the Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Graduate Studies, was published this month in the online journal Acta Neurpathologica.
Pur-alpha, a protein that is present in neuron cells, could hold the key to slowing neurodegeneration in patients with ALS, the paper concluded.
ALS disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that signal and control muscles. When those neuron cells die, the brain no longer can communicate or control muscles. Patients lose their ability to move, speak and sometimes swallow or breathe. There is no cure.
By Anna Gaca
on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 5:11 PM
FLICKR USER CARMICHAELLIBRARY VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Eat a colorful diet to achieve health benefits.
New Orleanians understand priorities, which is why there is not one but three fitness events themed around king cake this weekend. Mardi Gras is all about balance — on top of a parade ladder, a Clydesdale or whatever else your drunk ass shouldn’t have climbed. Be careful up there:
By Anna Gaca
on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 5:53 PM
Personal motivations in front of the rowing machines at OrangeTheory: "Wine. More wine. Cheeseburgers," "Vacation" and "Ex-boyfriends!"
“OrangeTheory is the workout of strivers,”The New York Times declared this month. The “group personal training” chain combines cardio, weights and plyometrics in a one-hour class and is expanding faster than juice bars in 2012.
I showed up at New Orleans’ newly opened OrangeTheoryFitness (4141 Bienville St., 504-408-2602; www.orangetheoryfitness.com) at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. Folks, I am a striver.
By Anna Gaca
on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 5:22 PM
Another way to release your wiggle.
Remember 2015, when wellness goals were fun and aspirational because no one had to start until next week? Reality check: they still are. Don’t miss the walk for the step count, people. If your healthy new routine (or lack thereof) has you feeling stuck in a rut already, it’s time to try something new. I got you: