Jul 26, 2010 1:50 PM by Melissa Canone
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine today announced multiple additions and enhancements to
- a one-stop information site - to help Louisiana residents make informed health care decisions for themselves and their families.
The site, first launched in February and updated this month, now allows users to compare home health care options as well as dialysis facilities on several factors. The other major addition is a provider locator, which allows people all over the state to find physicians, specialists or other health providers with just a few mouse clicks.
"For the past two years, we have been building the foundation of transforming health care delivery in Louisiana. Transparency for consumers is the critical building block of that foundation. These additions and enhancements at HealthFinderLa.com are another great step forward to give consumers what they need to make informed health care choices," Secretary Levine said. "Multiple studies have shown that greater transparency drives providers to improve quality, which in turn leads to significant savings and most importantly a healthier future for all Louisianians."
The new interactive provider locator allows users to search for providers licensed by DHH and the State Board of Medical Examiners. Listings include the provider's name, business address and phone number. Users can search by provider type, parish, city and zip code, and will get the results pinpointed on a map.
In the new dialysis facility comparison charts, users have access to a wealth of information on 146 facilities across the state, such as anemia management and patient survival data to make their choices. The data is also compared against state and federal averages.
For those examining home health care options, HealthFinderLa.com allows people to see how different companies stack up against each other, and state and federal averages on factors such as ability to improve patient mobility, types of services offered, improvement in pain management and ratings on how patients are transferred out of home health care. All of the data for dialysis facilities and home health care agencies comes from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Department also launched a series of improvements to measures previously available on the site:
Users can now compare providers by each measure or view all measures for each provider.
Results can be viewed graphically or in tabular form.
The results of risk adjusted measures are now color coded to better differentiate whether a facility performed better, worse or no different than the state or national average.
Medicaid results can now be compared directly with private plans.
Users are now able to view in detail-specific deficiencies identified during nursing home inspections.
Search criteria for prescription drug prices now includes zip code.
in February 2010 to give residents easy access to detailed and accurate information on the quality and performance of health care facilities so they can make informed decisions about their own care. The Web site is a product of the Consumer's Right to Know Act, created by Act 537 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session, which was part of the Governor's legislative package and was authored by Sen. Willie Mount, R-Lake Charles.
To create the site and enhance it, DHH staff worked with a health data panel of technology experts, physicians, nursing homes, health plans, pharmacy and hospital administrators, consumer advocates, and federal representatives to bring together available data. Data sources for the site include CMS Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare, the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures, and hospital inpatient discharge data.
In the future, the site will become an interactive information portal where consumers will be able to create their own scorecard based on the measures and metrics that matter most to them. Additionally, researchers will be able to run custom, Web-based reports to dive into a detailed analysis of the results displayed on these pages.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit