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Louisiana: What Medicaid Means for OB/GYN

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made improving maternal and infant health a top priority. Medicaid currently finances about half of births in the United States, making the impact from Medicaid procedures far-reaching. About two-thirds of women on Medicaid are in their reproductive years.

In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order in 2016 to expand Medicaid in the state, bringing more than 400,000 individuals in to the program. Over 1.4 million Louisianans are covered by Medicaid. According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 65% of births last year in Louisiana were on Medicaid.

More people in Louisiana are getting access to the care they need. But as a Women’s Health practice in the state, you have unique challenges that affect how your organization runs.

The right staff of physicians and advanced practitioners can help you produce better outcomes for your Medicaid patients. Here’s how to get there:

Recruit mission-driven OB/GYN physicians. One-third of Louisianans live in rural areas, where people are more likely to be dependent on Medicaid. Many smaller, rural healthcare facilities find it challenging to source and recruit top physician candidates, leaving barriers to care for those who need it most.

Kearny County Hospital, a community facility located in a rural part of Kansas, has created a successful recruitment strategy by focusing on mission-driven physicians and offering benefits that appeal to those who are service-minded.

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Advance your practice. OB/GYNs who work in areas heavily populated with Medicaid patients are shown to work longer hours and have an increased risk of burnout.

Advanced practitioners – including Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants – can provide certain services an OB/GYN would at a comparable level. These include pelvic exams, breast exams, mammograms and HPV screenings, among others. What this means is that you could be using advanced practitioners to cover these services traditionally handled by your OB/GYNs, freeing up physicians’ time for more complex procedures.

Reduced burnout results in a better working life for your staff and better outcomes for your patients. You can also reign in your staffing costs and drive revenue by increasing the number of patients you can see.

Offer birth alternatives. Some Obstetrics practices have found benefit in incorporating midwives into their staffing mix. Certified Nurse Midwives have the education and training to provide a range of women’s health services.

Watsonville Community Hospital in Northern California diverts low-risk pregnancies to midwives, allowing physicians to focus on more complicated cases. Midwives have been shown to produce fewer C-sections and help hospitals save costs.

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