Administration communicates with public daily
Communication is a broad term and can represent any number of interactions.
Communication is not reduced to bi-monthly council meetings, or at least I do not believe that would be sufficient in service to residents.
For example, my administration hosts the Lafourche Parish government website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an Instagram account to which content constantly evolves. In an effort to encourage usage, content is posted across each channel regularly and residents are encouraged to sign up for our news and information alerts.
About as many followers tune in to our Lafourche Parish government digital content as to yours because the information we provide is relevant.
As with any business, communication occurs at a rapid pace daily via email, phone call, conference call, text and with formal sit-down meetings.
The beauty about our style of communication is that we have made our information accessible for all to view with insight tools like citizen transparency, which showcases real-time financials online with the ease of intuitive reporting.
It’s unfortunate that these insights are available to the legislative branch and their auditor, but they choose not to utilize them.
In addition, standard spreadsheets are also posted regularly. We want residents to have access to information regardless of the moods of their representatives.
Whether it’s a simple search online or a detailed public information request, we are more than responsive and offer a medley of reporting. Lastly, residents can now view council meetings at their convenience since the videos are posted to our website. That was not an option until last year, since again I prioritized communication on behalf of residents.
While information can be reported once every two weeks at a public council meeting, my administration prefers to communicate with the public 24-7.
Lafourche Parish president
Battle of the budget: Protect the elderly
Residents who have Alzheimer’s, dementia and other chronic illnesses will soon be forced from nursing facilities and onto the street if the proposed state budget is approved. The current budget includes a devastating cut that eliminates the Medicaid Long Term Care Special Income Level Program Eligibility Group, which provides health care services for 80 percent of Medicaid nursing facility residents. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 31,000 nursing facility residents were included in the program last year. This is not a sensible solution to Louisiana’s budgetary issues.
If legislators do not do something, on July 1, tens of thousands of Louisianans will no longer qualify for services and will be forced out, leaving families to scramble to find suitable, affordable places to live and receive the vital services they need to continue to live with grace and dignity.
These individuals are retired teachers and various other trades and professions who paid taxes and receive a Social Security check or some other form of retirement and will no longer qualify for Medicaid. And this does not just affect nursing facilities. By no longer qualifying for Medicaid, these individuals will not receive health care services in any long-term care setting, including home- and community-based services.
This cut has a ripple effect on tens of thousands of Louisianans and businesses. If this program is eliminated, nursing facilities will be forced into bankruptcy, triggering massive layoffs including the approximately 26,000 people employed by Louisiana’s nursing facilities. With the nursing facilities bankrupt, hospitals will have no place to discharge patients.
If this budget goes into effect, communities will suffer as local nursing facilities are often the largest employer in the area and pay local taxes that would need to be recouped from other sources. Nursing facilities also purchase supplies from small businesses and contract with tradespeople and professionals who would face a similar fate.
Restoring the funds from this unconscionable cut is not about political parties. It is about making the right decision on behalf of our community members, the hardworking Louisianans who paid their taxes and have been productive members of the community but need our help due to declining health and aging.
We cannot allow the Medicaid Long Term Care Special Income Level Program Eligibility Group to be eliminated in a desperate effort to balance the budget at any cost. Louisianans must stand together and do the right thing – protect Louisiana’s elderly.
Executive director, Louisiana Nursing Home Association