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BREAKING 7-11-08 Gov. Jindal Signs LA Health Care Consumers Right To Know Act at LSU-HSC
Friday, Jul 11, 2008 1:18pm

SHREVEPORT, LA (By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, Talk of the Town) BREAKING: STATE MEDICAL NEWS 3:15pm 7-11-08  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine travelled to Shreveport's LSU Health Sciences Center today, to sign into law Senate Bill 287, the "Louisiana Consumers’ Right to Know Act."  Click here to listen to Jindal's interview with the media: by Tom Pace from "The Talk of the Town." 

Jindal made another revelation at the Friday, July 11th, news conference: the the State's Budget now includes $4 Million for expansion of the 
Emergency Room facilities at LSU-HSC in Shreveport.

Introduced by Chancellor John McDonald of LSU-HSC, Jindal talked to a packed room of LSU doctors and state legislators about the importance of electronic health records technology in improving health care in Louisiana.

Better known as "The LA Consumers’ Right to Know Act," the Governor said that this law charges the Department of Health and Hospitals with creating a website that will give Louisiana health care consumers access to reliable information on the cost, quality and performance of their health care providers and health plans – a first of its kind for the state. 

Governor Jindal said, “Empowering Louisianians with information and analysis about their health care options and providers through the Consumers’ Right to Know Act is a tremendous step forward in enhancing the quality of care patients receive in our state. In many ways, the health care industry is one of the last industries to take advantage of the technology we have available today to reduce paperwork and more efficiently provide services. Too often, we see better technology used in hospital gift shops than in tracking patient’s medications and treatments, where most providers still rely on paper records. In this session, we invested $18 million in electronic health records to begin getting our providers online with health care technology. The increased use of electronic medical records will provide for more efficient ways to treat patients and reduce medical errors.”


Under the Louisiana Consumers’ Right to Know Act, DHH will create a website that publishes key performance data on health care providers and health plans, such as complication rates for procedures, average cost for procedures and the number of procedures a given provider has performed.  This information will allow consumers to compare providers across a range of performance categories and make their health care buying decisions armed with objective information.


“This legislation is a major victory for anyone in our state who uses health care services,” said DHH Secretary Alan Levine. “The ability to comparison shop for health care services in Louisiana will mean better informed patients as well as improved quality and reduced cost.”


The Consumers’ Right to Know Act, SB 287, by Senator Mount, also calls on DHH to form a Health Data Panel consisting of health care stakeholders and technology experts from throughout the state that will advise the agency on best practices around the collection of provider data, risk adjusting the data for accuracy and clear and easy to understand publication of the data on a user-friendly website.  The website will be launched before April 30, 2009. 


The Governor also highlighted today that Louisiana was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of the first four states in the nation to receive a grant of up to $29 million to encourage small to medium-sized physician practices to use electronic health records (EHRs). Currently, research suggests that nurses spend an hour filling out paperwork for every hour they spend providing care in a hospital setting, and as many as 100,000 Americans die each year due to avoidable medical errors. Streamlining functions through modern technology like electronic health records will help alleviate the burden of paperwork and deter avoidable medical errors.


In the budget this year, Governor Jindal committed more than $18 million to leveraging electronic health records technology to improve the delivery of health care in Louisiana. This funding will support projects like the Louisiana Health Information Exchange, a project that will build the infrastructure to allow health care providers from all over the state to securely share privacy-protected health information and electronic medical records. 


Additionally, Louisiana received a $1.2 million grant from the Federal Communication Commission to help Louisiana hospitals pay for the necessary infrastructure to support robust communications that will improve networking capabilities and online access to communication.


The Governor’s budget also supports the second year of the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange, a partnership between the Rural Hospital Coalition and the LSU Health Sciences Center that employs telemedicine and electronic health records to connect rural hospitals with the resources of the LSU Health Sciences Center, allowing patients and physicians at rural hospitals to see specialists at LSU without ever leaving their communities. LSU-S is the host of the network formed with rural hospitals, which accounts for $13.5 million of $18 million in funding.


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