"Without adequate health care, Katrina wins and Louisiana loses."
- HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
Hurricane Katrina incapacitated the Greater New Orleans heath care system, devastated its health care infrastructure, and severely impacted health care in a number of Louisiana parishes. Eighty percent of New Orleans health centers were destroyed. The teaching hospitals of New Orleans have been devastated, and countless people have lost all medical records.
"You've got a city where the whole health-care system was destroyed."
- Dr. Floyd Buras
From this adversity comes an opportunity.
The Greater New Orleans health care system was based on an antiquated, inefficient, emergency room-based model. There is widespread agreement that the two-tier system of health care in Louisiana, one for the insured and one for the under and uninsured, has been found to be detrimental to the health of all Louisianans.
Working from the ground up, working together, the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative strives to build an efficient 21st century healthcare system implementing technology, transparency, emergency preparedness and greater personal healthcare choices.
At the core of the redesign effort are three principles:
- Local solutions
- Patient-centered care
- Access to quality care for all
The Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the Collaborative in its effort:
- By acting as a convener of stature for the various stakeholders
- By providing expert assistance and other HHS resources
- By removing barriers to progress and moving it forward, and
- By rapidly reviewing Medicaid waiver and Medicare demonstration proposals submitted by the Louisiana Health Care Collaborative in accordance with the guiding principles.
The goal is to improve health care by providing every citizen with a medical home that is prevention centered, neighborhood located and electronically connected. Success will mean that Louisiana and New Orleans will have health care systems that can serve as models for the nation.