Louisiana State Profile and Policy Report

Louisiana State Profile and Policy Report

Table of Contents

Heart Disease and Stroke Burden

Louisiana - State Deaths for Heart Disease and Stroke

  • One out of 4 deaths in Louisiana are due to heart disease.

  • 10,026 Louisanans died from heart disease in 2006 (25 percent of total deaths in Louisiana).

  •  2,195 Louisanans from stroke in 2006 (5.5 percent of total deaths in Louisiana).
    Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.

Louisiana - 2007 State Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke


Louisiana - 2003 State Costs for Cardiovascular Disease 

In October 2007, the Milken Institute, an independent research group, released a study, An Unhealthy America: The Economic Impact of Chronic Disease. The study details the economic effects of treatment costs resulting from chronic disease in the United States. Below is a breakdown of Louisiana’s estimated medical costs to treat heart disease, hypertension and stroke based on 2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data.

Louisiana Annual Cost of Hypertension, Heart Disease and Stroke 

Treatment Expenditures (Direct Costs) - Total annual medical cost.      


$.61 billion

Heart Disease          

$1.18 billion


$.25 billion

Source: Milken Institute, An Unhealthy America: The Economic Impact of Chronic Disease, October 2007. 

Louisiana - Estimated 2007 Medicaid Treatment Costs for Cardiovascular Diseases

Based on Louisiana's Medicaid population, economic estimates for 2007 were projected using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data.  Medicaid spending has grown rapidly in recent years, placing a significant burden on state budgets.  To help states estimate the financial impact of cardiovascular diseases among their Medicaid beneficiaries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International developed the Chronic Disease Cost Calculator, which was used to estimate the Medicaid costs below. 

 Heart Disease

 $80.6 million


 $256 million


 $147 million

 Congestive Heart Failure

 $30.7 million

Funded CDC Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program in Louisiana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds Louisiana's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program to increase control of high blood pressure and cholesterol; increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and the importance of promptly calling 911; improve emergency response; improve quality of care; and eliminate related health disparities.  These efforts are informed by monitoring heart disease, stroke and related risk factors statewide.

Louisiana State Highlights - Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program

The Louisiana Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program has implemented:

  • Search Your Heart: A faith-based initiative that addresses the disparity of heart disease and stroke in African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos.

  • Sisters Together: A joint project with Southern University that provided education and training for African American women  to address the risk factors related to heart disease and stroke.

  • An initiative with the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, to train members of health care teams to educate patients immediately following a cardiac event.

State Laws and Policies

Public Awareness of Heart Disease and Stroke

HR54/SR59 (2008) - Upon the observance of National Women's Health Week from May 11 through May 17, 2008, it is appropriate to encourage citizens to show their support for women and the fight against cardiovascular diseases. The House of Representatives and the Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana, in recognition of the importance of the ongoing fight against heart disease and stroke, recognizes Thursday, May 15, 2008, as Louisiana Legislators Go Red for Women Day in Louisiana, does hereby urge all citizens to show their support for women and the fight against heart disease by commemorating this day by wearing the color red, and does hereby commend the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for increasing awareness about cardiovascular diseases and stroke and empowering women to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

SR94 (2007) - The Louisiana Commission on Men's Health and Wellness has worked with Congress to develop National Men's Health Week as a special campaign to help educate men and their families about the importance of positive health attitudes and preventive health practices. Men's Health Week at the Louisiana Senate will focus on a broad range of men's health issues, including heart disease and prostate, testicular, and colon cancer. The Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby designate the week of June 11 through June 17, 2007, as Men's Health Week at the Louisiana Senate.

HR87 (2007) - Be it resolved that the Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby urge and request the Congress of the United States to support the efforts, programs, services and advocacy of organizations, such as the American Stroke Association, that work to enhance public awareness of childhood stroke.

SCR24 (2007) - Be it resolved that the Louisiana Legislature does hereby designate May 2007, as American Stroke Month in Louisiana and urge all the citizens of our state to familiarize themselves with the warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with stroke so that we might begin to reduce the devastating effects of stroke on our population.

SCR9/ HR11 (2002) - The Legislature of Louisiana proclaims May 9, 2002, as American Heart Association Day in the state of Louisiana, and urges all citizens to know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, recognize them as a medical emergency and dial 911, and to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Prevention of Risk Factors (Nutrition, Physical Activity, Tobacco)

LA HR 16 (2010, adopted) - Recognizes April 7, 2010 as “National Start! Walking Day” and “Legislative Wellness Day.”

Tobacco Control

Louisiana does not have a state employee tobacco cessation program nor does it meet all three of the CDC guidelines that include:

1) Coverage for at least four counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes; NO 
2) Access to smoking cessation agents, including prescriptions and nicotine replacement; NO 
3) Counseling and medication coverage for at least two quit attempts annually; NO 

  • Louisiana also has a cigarette excise tax and quit line.  The cigarette excise tax in Louisiana is $.36.

  • Louisiana's state Medicaid tobacco cessation program covers over-the-counter and prescription products.

Increase Early Detection and Treatment of Risk Factors

La. Rev. Stat. 40:1299.191-193 (1991) - The cholesterol screening services shall be organized and provided under the general supervision of a licensed clinical laboratory or a licensed physician who is qualified, by education and training, to conduct and interpret the results of the tests offered, and who is knowledgeable regarding quality control. The physician may be employed or serve as a consultant to the unit. Systems and Instruments. The testing shall be performed only by personnel properly qualified, by education and training, in the drawing of blood samples, proper sterile techniques, and the correct operation of the testing instruments. No person administering the tests shall attempt to interpret the clinical significance of the test results, render or express a medical diagnosis, or in any way suggest the necessity or appropriateness or lack of necessity or appropriateness of any form of treatment. Persons tested shall be advised of the necessity of appropriate follow-up with a medical professional should the screening test warrant such, as outlined in the national cholesterol screening program guidelines or equal standards.

La. Rev. Stat. 40:2481-2483 (1984) - The secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals shall establish within the department a hypertension control program which shall have central authority and responsibility for the development of a statewide system of community based high blood pressure control programs. The secretary shall establish the criteria for the implementation of the program and shall promulgate all necessary rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this Chapter except that no rule shall be made to limit the program to Medicaid eligible. The services established in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter shall be provided through screening and maintenance program centers which shall be established and located in each of the eight state planning districts to be determined by the secretary. A community based hypertension control program shall include but not be limited to the following: (1) hypertension screening; (2) treatment referral; (3) counseling for victims of high blood pressure as to proper diet, weight control, and appropriate care and treatment of the condition; and (4) patient follow-up and evaluation of treatment methods.

State Employee Health and Wellness

 No policy listed at this time

Improve Quality of Care and Access to Care

HR70/SR74 (2008) - The Links, Incorporated, is an international organization of women of color dedicated to improving the quality of life for humankind. Members of the Louisiana Links chapters began coming to the Louisiana Legislature in 2006 to support legislation and policies that provide the funding and infrastructure necessary for the implementation of "Healthy People 2010"; "Healthy People 2010" is designed to identify the most significant, preventable health threats, to establish national goals for increasing awareness, and to reduce disparities in the impact of these threats, paying particular attention to infant mortality, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV infection, and AIDS and encouraging immunization. Members of the Louisiana Links are visiting the Louisiana Legislature on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, to support legislation and policies aimed at reducing the obesity rate for children in Louisiana and other health care and education initiatives that create a better quality of life in Louisiana. The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend the efforts of The Links, Incorporated, does hereby recognize Tuesday, May 20, 2008, as Louisiana Links Day at the Louisiana State Capitol, and does hereby extend best wishes to its members for continued success in bettering Louisiana.

LRS 3:333/HB806 (2007) - The Louisiana Center for Rural Initiative shall plan, develop, and implement a Delta Development Initiative. The purpose of the Delta initiative shall be to provide for a dynamic and comprehensive approach to planning, developing, and implementing solutions to problems of the Delta region in Louisiana by utilizing all possible available resources, and specifically to address problems related to poverty, education, health care, economic development and jobs, housing, and culture. The center shall provide educational programs for Delta region residents to increase knowledge of best practices to improve overall health and to reduce obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol rates. The center also shall provide technical assistance to Delta health care organizations to improve recruitment of health care professionals to rural areas and evaluate costs and quality of services and strategies to improve the efficiency of Delta health organizations.

Address and Eliminate Disparities

LRS 40:1300.221 (2003) - The "Community-based Primary Health Care Initiative" is hereby created within the Department of Health and Hospitals, for the purpose of increasing access of indigent and low-income citizens to primary health care and ancillary services in designated urban and rural medically underserved areas represented by Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The Community-based Primary Health Care Initiative Fund is hereby established within the state treasury. Monies in the fund shall be appropriated and used by the department solely as provided in this Section. In the event sufficient monies are not available to make the full amount of grants as provided in this Subsection, each grant shall be reduced proportionately. Grants are to be made to community health centers for various community health programs and operations of the centers, including to Capitol City Family Health Center to improve the practice management system through asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular collaborative projects, and for a coordinator or data entry staff.

LRS 40:2196 (1992) - The Community Indigent Health Care Program is created within the Department of Health and Hospitals to expand health and medical resources and to expand access to primary and preventive care services available to local communities through a grant and contract program while encouraging the development of greater efficiency in care for low-income persons. Grants and contracts shall be awarded according to the terms of this Part in the amounts specified and to the persons and organizations selected by the department. Recipients and amounts shall be based on relationship to one or more of the health priority areas for Louisiana [including heart disease and atherosclerosis].

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

HCR29 (2008) - The great and historic Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee District of Kiwanis International will undertake the admirable project of placing at least one Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in every school in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby recognize April 5, 2008, as Kiwanis ONE Day in Louisiana and does hereby extend gratitude to Kiwanians throughout the world for their countless good deeds.

SR164 (2008) - The Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana urges and requests the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to study the feasibility of requiring that automated external defibrillators be placed in every public high school. Be it further resolved that a written report of findings and recommendations be submitted to the Senate Committee on Education not later than March 15, 2009.

Stroke Systems of Care

HCR70 (2005) - The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend the members of the Stroke Task Force, the American Stroke Association, and the Office of Public Health and the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services of the Department of Health and Hospitals for their effective work in developing recommendations to improve care for stroke victims.

SCR12 (2003) - The Legislature of Louisiana extends the authority of the Louisiana Stroke Treatment Task Force to study the feasibility of developing and implementing a comprehensive statewide education program on stroke prevention targeted to high-risk populations and to geographic areas where there is a high incidence of stroke. The study shall include, but not be limited to information on: (1) leading healthy lifestyle practices that reduce the risk of stroke; (2) identifying the signs and symptoms of stroke and the actions to be taken when these signs occur; (3) determining what constitutes high-quality health care for stroke patients and health care providers; (4) adopting and disseminating guidelines on the treatment of stroke patients, including emergency stroke care throughout the state; (5) addressing means by which the guidelines may be revised to remain current with developing treatment methodologies and (6) taking such other actions necessary to ensure that the public and health care providers are sufficiently informed of the most effective strategies for stroke prevention and to assist health care providers to utilize the most effective treatment strategies for stroke. The task force shall report its findings and recommendations to the Senate and House committees on health and welfare, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House of Representatives prior to the convening of the 2005 Regular Session. The authority for the task force shall expire July 1, 2005.

SCR20 (2001) - The Legislature of Louisiana creates the Louisiana Stroke Treatment Task Force to study the feasibility of developing and implementing a comprehensive statewide education program on stroke prevention targeted to high-risk populations and to geographic areas where there is a high incidence of stroke.

SCR53 (2002) - The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby create the Stroke Education Consortium to decrease stroke-related illnesses and death in the state through education of all of Louisiana’s citizens regarding the prevention and treatment of stroke. The consortium shall educate the public regarding: (1) consulting a physician for stroke risk factor modification; (2) recognizing the five most common signs of stroke and the need for a quick response to any signs of stroke; and (3) calling 911 when experiencing any of the common signs of stroke. The consortium shall educate Emergency Medical Services personnel about the pre-hospital management of acute stroke patients. The consortium shall educate emergency department personnel and other hospital-based health care professionals regarding hyper-acute stroke management and secondary stroke prevention strategies. The consortium may apply for grants and receive funds to accomplish their stated mission.

Sources: CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention | CDC WISEWOMAN Program | Milken Institute
NCSL Resources: Heart Disease and Stroke Overview | State Employee Health Benefits | Tobacco Cessation, 2009

NOTE:  NCSL provides links to other Web sites from time to time for information purposes only. Providing these links does not necessarily indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.

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