Louisiana’s new Medicaid waiver to finance free health clinics

This article was published in The Hullabaloo on September 24, 2010.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a Medicaid waiver to the state of Louisiana Wednesday that will free up funds typically allocated only to hospitals to help fund New Orleans’ 87 community health clinics.

The typically-free clinics, which were established after Hurricane Katrina, have been funded primarily by rebuilding grants, including a substantial amount from Qatar and a $100-million federal Primary Care and Access Stabilization Grant that is set to expire Thursday.

The newly approved Medicaid waiver will provide $97.5 million to fund the primary-care clinics during the next three years, though the clinics will still have to raise funds independently as well.

“These Community Health Clinics are neighborhood anchors that support one in five residents of the Greater New Orleans area and provide valuable health services to a large proportion of working families and the uninsured,” Senator Mary Landrieu said in a press release Wednesday. “These clinics represent an innovative approach and a new model for health care delivery.”
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