Baton Rouge – The Louisiana Department of Health is exploring the possibility of lifting the moratorium on new mental health rehabilitation facilities in the state.  In order to assess whether the moratorium should be lifted, LDH is issuing a Request for Information from mental health providers.  This request is designed to determine their interest in enrolling as mental health rehabilitation providers and their capacity to provide needed services.

In August 2004, LDH established the moratorium prohibiting the addition of any new mental health rehabilitation providers.  Over the last 18 months, the number of these providers has been reduced significantly across the state, with sharper decreases in certain parishes.  The department is currently evaluating whether or not to maintain or lift this moratorium.  The evaluation of the service delivery capacity includes:

• The capacity of current and prospective providers to serve recipients in their service area,
• The number of recipients and families being served, 
• Available maximum capacity among current providers and the current provider network,
• Unmet needs (service type and volume) among enrolled and potential recipients and families in the service area.

According to Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH secretary, the Request for Information will serve LDH as a valuable tool in the decision-making process.

“We need this information as we study whether or not to lift the moratorium,” he explained. “This information will be used to highlight the need for mental health rehabilitation services throughout the state, and weigh considerations for lifting the moratorium in areas with the greatest need.”

If a decision is made to lift the moratorium, it may be lifted statewide or in specific regions; it may be lifted for all services and populations, or for specific services or populations.  The State may also choose not to lift the moratorium.  All decisions will be made based on the evaluation of the current service delivery system, provider network, and recipient need.

Providers can receive a copy of the Request for Information by calling the Mental Health Rehabilitation Program at (225) 922-0006 or by e-mailing oholliday@dhh.la.gov