Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Kathy Kliebert announced today the appointment of Louisiana Medicaid Deputy Director Jeff Reynolds to succeed Jerry Phillips as undersecretary of the Department. Reynolds will assume his new responsibilities following Phillips’ retirement on March 10, 2014 from the state after 25 years of service at DHH and a 30-year career in the United States Marine Corps. Phillips was instrumental in the successful creation of nine public-private partnerships aimed at improving access and availability to care for generations of Louisiana residents to come. Following his retirement, Phillips will pursue other employment options with the State in order to ensure the continuity of those partnerships.
The [Best Fed Beginnings] program’s major goal is to increase the number of breastfed babies. The $6 million initiative began last year and will conclude in September 2014. The 89 participating hospitals must complete the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding program. By doing so, they will receive a “baby-friendly” designation from the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund.
Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Chief Compliance Officer William Root was honored yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for his dedicated service with the Career Achievement Award. Root retired from HHS earlier in 2013 as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Investigations before joining DHH to head up the Louisiana Medicaid Program Integrity Office.
The Department of Health and Hospitals announced today the appointment of two new interim assistant secretaries. Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham will serve as Interim Assistant Secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health and Mark Thomas will assume the role of Interim Assistant Secretary for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities. Searches will be conducted to fill both roles permanently by early 2014.
Today, the Louisiana Division of Administration and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals outlined a plan to address funding reductions included by the Legislature in the state’s final operating budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1. Without these actions, DHH projects that it would face an approximately $25.9 million state general fund shortfall at current operating levels.
Problem gambling is one of Louisiana’s most serious health issues. It affects not only the addict; it affects that person’s family, friends, co-workers and society as a whole. A 2008 Louisiana study on problem gambling revealed as many as 100,000 Louisianians are problem and pathological/compulsive gamblers. Problem gambling is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or desire to stop.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals today formally notified the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office and the Office of the District Attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish that staff have gathered evidence that leads them to believe a DHH employee has misappropriated public funds intended for the department and used these funds for personal activities.