Bayou Health is saving the state money and improving health outcomes for nearly 1 million Louisiana residents.

The Department of Health and Hospitals introduced Bayou Health in 2012 as a way to achieve our most important goals for Medicaid: improve the quality of care for recipients and save the state money. I am proud to say that we are achieving these goals every day, and we plan to continue doing so.

With Bayou Health, we moved nearly 1 million Medicaid enrollees from a fee-for-service model to a managed-care model. In its first three years, Bayou Health saved the State an estimated $23.83 per member per month, which is 8.7 percent less than what we would have spent if we had just continued the fee-for-service model.

Under this program, the state contracts with managed care organizations to provide care to recipients. MCOs have an incentive to keep patients healthy, because now we pay them per-patient instead of per-service. In providing for and directing the overall health care of an enrollee, including preventive care and disease management, the MCOs themselves benefit from the cost savings gained by keeping enrollees healthy.

Some improved outcomes we have seen include a 4.6 percentage point increase in adult access to preventive/ambulatory care, 32 percentage point increase in well-child visits by children 3 to 6 years old, 36.5 percentage point increase in childhood immunizations, 21.3 percentage point increase in adolescent well-care visits and 10.8 percentage point increase in timeliness of prenatal care.

We are also increasing access for our Bayou Health recipients. Each member gets connected with a primary care physician to coordinate their care. These PCPs are available 24/7 and are located closer than ever now that we have requirements limiting distance between members and services.

In December of this year, we will also be integrating behavioral health care into Bayou Health, which will allow MCOs and physicians to work together and improve the overall health of Louisiana residents covered under Medicaid.

The savings and improved outcomes we have seen with Bayou Health are outstanding, and we want to make sure we are measuring them correctly. Since implementation, we’ve issued two transparency reports that share meaningful data on how Bayou Health performs and how much it costs. Those transparency reports will now be more useful to the public and the Legislature thanks to modifications made to their requirements by a bill the department supported. We are also currently working with the legislative auditor to confirm our savings and make sure we are operating as an efficient, effective steward of taxpayers’ money.

Thanks to Bayou Health and our health care partners across the state, Louisiana’s health care future looks bright.

Kathy H. Kliebert

secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

Baton Rouge