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About the Team

The Louisiana team is led by its state Medicaid agency, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). LDH is working with AHE to identify the best way to apply the Roadmap to Advance Health Equity to reinforce pre-existing, equity-focused efforts and requirements in its Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts. Their areas of focus include: updating contract language so it is more inclusive (e.g., “pregnant persons” as opposed to “pregnant women”); creating guidelines for partnering with communities and members; requiring MCOs to better engage key stakeholders; and strengthening specific and measurable requirements of all efforts for advancing health equity.

Creating Cultures of Equity

LDH has prioritized adopting and implementing health equity-focused practices and protocols throughout its organization. In January 2019, LDH created the Office of Community Partnerships & Health Equity. This office is charged with creating, implementing, and monitoring the first agency-wide health equity framework and plan (LDH Health Equity Plan). The multi-phase plan is a robust roadmap guiding practices/protocols, resources, and implementation for LDH staff to follow.

Identifying and Diagnosing the Problem

Currently, the LA team is reviewing health equity plans submitted by each MCO which detail how each MCO will be responsible for assessing and improving existing health equity-informed practices and policies. The MCO health equity plans also include intentional strategies to design interventions as informed by health disparities and inequities faced by Lousianians. Although the health equity plans are specific to each contracted MCO, some overlap is anticipated because they all follow the same prescribed guidelines from the Request for Proposals (RFP). LDH will also use its time in the Learning Collaborative to identify a process to support each MCO best as they implement their health equity plans.

Designing and Implementing Change

As the state’s Medicaid agency, LDH is leveraging its purchasing power by requiring MCOs to support and advance the state’s health equity goals through its contracts with the MCOs. As part of its work in AHE’s Learning Collaborative, LDH is seeking feedback to enhance its MCO contracts by establishing health equity as a core principle; addressing organizational practices and operations to implement health equity goals; and aligning payment systems and incentives strategies to advance health equity.