Health Department Revamps Medicaid Expansion Hiring Plan

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is reworking its approach to hiring the staff needed to handle his Medicaid expansion effort after getting pushback from lawmakers.

         The agency initially proposed adding nearly 250 new workers to handle enrollment of the thousands of people expected to qualify for Medicaid under an eligibility expansion.

         But the plan was put on hold in January as the Democratic governor's administration ran into concerns from Republican lawmakers resistant to adding new workers to state payroll amid continuing budget shortfalls.

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         Under a revised plan, the Edwards administration intends to beef up an outside contracting deal with the University of New Orleans to augment the health department's staff.

         Health department spokesman Bob Johannessen said Monday the agency was still determining whether the contracting arrangement will need legislative approval.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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