OHL CEO Pens Letter to the Editor

OHL CEO Pens Letter to the Editor - OHL Opinion: Medicaid Expansion

The Times-Picayune recently printed an article about the impending Medicaid expansion and the implications it could have in New Orleans (see article here).

OHL CEO wrote a Letter to the Editor regarding this article that was printed in the paper June 15, 2016. Read what OHL has to say about how New Orleans is prepared for Medicaid expansion below.

Re: "Medicaid expands, ERs brace, Ernest Burrell prays." While the impending Medicaid expansion is being met with apprehension by emergency rooms, which are likely to be overwhelmed, at least for a period of time, New Orleans has a host of heath care centers available to the community at large. These community health resources, including Odyssey House Louisiana's Community Health Care Center, have been actively preparing to increase patient capacity under the Medicaid expansion and are federally qualified to operate as a medical home for individuals like Ernest Burrell, so that they do not have to remain emergency room "frequent fliers."

These health centers address all areas of general health care, including routine health screenings, treating acute illnesses and managing chronic health conditions. Many health centers, such as Odyssey House's, also provide additional services, including behavioral health care, medication management, STD screening and treatment and HIV testing. Rather than an expensive and lengthy ER trip for primary care services, individuals like Mr. Burrell can have their health care needs assessed by qualified doctors and nurses in a more comfortable clinic setting. These resources are available now; we must work as a community to ensure that those in need are able to access quality services and become active participants in their own long-term health care.

While many questions remain with the Medicaid expansion, it also presents the opportunity to become a healthier New Orleans. Further information about these health centers, including locations, can be accessed through the Louisiana Primary Care Association at lpca.net.

Edward C. Carlson

Chief Executive Officer

Odyssey House Louisiana

New Orleans

View the letter online here.