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Medicaid Panel Revived 

  Louisiana's once-defunct Medical Care Advisory Committee has been reactivated, and new members have been appointed. A bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year also reorganizes the committee, which is charged with advising the Department of Health and Hospitals on the state's Medicaid program.

  More than 1.2 million Louisiana adults and children receive health care services ranging from acute to long-term care through the program. With the significant expansion of Medicaid being a major part of all the reform bills in Washington, it is anticipated the Medicaid rolls in Louisiana will grow to more than 1.6 million people, with most of the expanded population being adults. The added cost of this expansion exceeds $2 billion annually, with a $130 million state match.

  DHH Secretary Alan Levine says he wants feedback from affected stakeholders before a policy is implemented. "While DHH is charged with the huge task of being accountable for the Medicaid program, we believe our decisions are better when they include input from the people who are impacted," Levine says.

  The committee will hold its first meeting this month. Levine says the selection process for members was methodical, and officials "took the time to find the right blend of people who have been involved in the process in the past while also trying to attract new people who have not yet had the opportunity to be involved."

  The new advisory committee has three members from New Orleans, including Ed Carlson, executive director at Louisiana's Odyssey House; Denise Danna, a registered nurse who has a doctorate in nursing, president of the Louisiana State Nurses Association and an assistant professor of nursing at the LSU Health Sciences Center; and Dr. Karen DeSalvo, C. Thorpe Ray Chair in Internal Medicine, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics, vice dean of community affairs and a professor of medicine at Tulane University. — Jeremy Alford

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