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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


David Hood
Senior Healthcare Policy Analyst Public Affairs Research Council

Mr. Hood’s areas of focus include coverage for the uninsured, the charity hospital system, Medicaid financing and budget, financing and delivery of mental health care, the long-term care system and other topic areas.

David Hood served as cabinet secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) for six years from 1998-2004. He retired in 2004 from a 26-year career in public healthcare administration. Well-respected as a reform-minded government administrator, Mr. Hood developed strategies for more efficient use of tax dollars by minimizing waste and fraud, deploying new technologies and utilizing private sector solutions wherever possible.

During Mr. Hood’s tenure as Secretary, DHH achieved a number of far-reaching reforms, including introduction of the highly successful Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program that expanded numbers of low-income children with health care coverage from 320,000 in 1998 to 620,000 by 2003.. Today more than 90 percent of low-income children in Louisiana have health coverage.

Another key reform was a large-scale reorganization of Louisiana Medicaid to assure access to primary medical care for children and adults. An existing program with 40,000 enrollees in rural parishes was redesigned in 2001 and expanded statewide. By 2003 more than 1,600 primary care physicians were providing medical homes for 700,000 Medicaid recipients, including 600,000 children. The program, called Medicaid CommunityCARE, enables patients to select a physician of their choice who will be responsible for all aspects of primary and preventive care, as well as coordination of inpatient and specialty treatment. The program improves health outcomes and saves money by avoiding unnecessary hospitalization and emergency room visits.

Mr. Hood is an alumnus of Louisiana State University. He also served in the U.S. Air Force officer corps.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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