Policymakers from Louisiana Learn from Florida’s Medicaid Experience

January 25, 2018

Program:  Reforming States Group

State leaders from the Louisiana Department of Health traveled to Tallahassee to hear from officials about Florida’s statewide Medicaid managed care implementation. The December trip, which included Louisiana’s Medicaid director and 11 staff members, was organized and funded by the Milbank Memorial Fund, as part of its State Technical Assistance, in which policymakers from one state travel to another to learn about specific challenges in health care.

Officials from Louisiana had specific questions for Florida. They wanted to make changes to their own hospital payment system similar to those that Florida had already implemented. In addition, Florida had recently completed a multi-year effort to streamline and standardize its covered services policy manuals—and Louisiana was planning to do the same.

Florida also had recently developed a “Medicaid University” curriculum to provide comprehensive, ongoing education for its employees from which Louisiana could get tips about improving employee retention and ensuring institutional knowledge.

Lastly, Louisiana wanted to learn from Florida about its managed care contracting and oversight, since the two states have similar maturing workforces and agency infrastructure.

“The opportunity to spend focused time in person with our Florida Medicaid peers was simply invaluable,” said Jennifer L. Steele, Louisiana’s Medicaid Director. “As sister southern states, we have so much in common. It just makes sense to leverage each other’s experience, from managed care operations and staff development to payment and delivery system reform.

“Given scarce public resources, Milbank’s support provided my team with the otherwise unobtainable opportunity to travel together for shared learning and imagination. Best of all, capping it off was an unexpected, inspired 7-hour road trip after our flight home was cancelled due to snow in south Louisiana—chattering away, full of new ideas on how to improve the Louisiana Medicaid program and the health of the people we serve. Thank you, Milbank!”

“This technical assistance meeting is an example of the type of exchange we like to support for states,” said Trina Gonzalez, program officer at the Fund. “The meeting gave state officials from Louisiana a chance to learn about the innovative ways Florida has run its Medicaid managed care program and helped to support the leadership development within their department.”