Primary Care Assn Objects to Ochsner Expansion Plans

In a November 24 press release, officials at the Louisiana Primary Care Association asked that citizens take a stand and decline to “reinvent the wheel” and to support Louisiana’s federally qualified health centers.

“Earlier this month, we learned that Ochsner Health intends to re-invent the wheel and spearhead a new $100 million initiative to build 15 ‘health centers’ in underserved communities over the next five years,” said the officials.

“While Ochsner Health and other corporate, profitdriven entities describe themselves as pioneers in this space, the reality is that Community Health Centers have been on the ground serving the people of Louisiana for decades. While we are heartened to see their new commitment to primary and preventive care for these populations, we wish
Ochsner Health would have focused more on partnership, engaging in collaboration, and strengthening the ongoing work of our members.

“Ochsner Health plans to construct ‘health centers’ in areas in which there are a large number of Community Health Centers already operating and serving patients. In the Greater New Orleans region alone, there are 72 Community Health Centers operated by 15 different organizations.

“If you want to address health inequities and improve the health of our citizens all while providing affordable and accessible care, look no further than our Community Health Center network. Our health center members are battle-tested and proven leaders in meeting the needs of these communities. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (and over the past few years with the advent of Medicaid expansion), Louisiana’s Community Health Center network has grown exponentially. Health centers are now located in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

“These facilities save taxpayer money by keeping patients out of the emergency room and focusing on the need for primary and preventive care. In fact, in 2019 Louisiana’s Community Health Centers saved our healthcare system nearly $900 million,” authors

“Health Centers are also woven deeply into the communities they serve,” and “are held to the most rigorous standards of care, patient safety, transparency, and financial
responsibility,” the Association officials said.

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