New Legislation Increases Access for Patients & Capabilities for Louisiana’s Community Health Centers

By Raegan A. Carter
LPCA, Director of Health Policy & Governmental Affairs

Louisiana’s 2023 Legislative Session, as with many throughout the country, has definitely been one for the books!

Our state is constantly changing, evolving, and working towards finding solutions for the problems that face every community and every Louisianan. Each year, policymakers and passionate advocates gather at the State Capitol and debate the best way to serve the people who live in the Bayou State, and the Louisiana Primary Care Association participates in the legislative session in every way we can including tracking bills and working alongside Legislators and their staff from the moment they are pre-filed until they are signed by the Governor.

This year’s Session was a Fiscal Session, meaning the majority of legislation filed would be related to budgets with each legislator allowed to file five non-fiscal bills.

Our team followed a range of ideas and discussions throughout the two-month period. We also partnered with new services, FiscalNote & VoterVoice, that allowed us to track legislation with the click of a button and create advocacy campaigns for those in support of Community Health Centers to send messages to their Senators or Representatives.

While this session was full of ups and downs, we are celebrating two huge wins on behalf of Louisiana’s Community Health Centers thanks to the dedication of our advocates and supporters.

House Bill 548 from Representative Christopher Turner

This bill enacted protections for the 340B Drug Pricing Program and was known as the “Defending Affordable Prescription Drug Costs Act.”

The 340B Drug Pricing Program has been a hot topic over the last years as the program requires pharmaceutical companies to sell prescription drugs at discounted rates to health care organizations like Community Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, Rural Hospitals, and other such entities that serve low income and uninsured patients.

For patients, this means receiving affordable, life-saving medications, ensuring that prescriptions are taken without fear of running out or being unable to afford more. For our Community Health Centers, this program allows for additional funds to be put toward addressing other barriers to healthcare like lack of transportation or childcare.

With this legislation, Louisiana’s 340B Drug Pricing Program is more secure for Community Health Centers and similar entities. The bill, now signed by the Governor, ensures that drug manufacturers cannot place additional fees, limitations, or requirements onto 340B participating entities that are not placed on non-340B entities. 

Senate Bill 66 from Senator Fred Mills

This now signed legislation changed the legal term “telemedicine” into “telehealth,” broadening the ability of healthcare providers who are not physicians to use telehealth services in treating their patients, meaning those who need behavioral health services can now also participate in telehealth services.

It also allows for some patients to have telehealth visits without having an in-person appointment. This could allow those who have mobility or transportation issues and cannot make it to see health care providers in the clinic to access healthcare services.

Lastly, within the language of the bill, there are allowances for audio-only telehealth visits. Patients who may not have access to webcams or phones with camera capabilities may now have access to telehealth visits only through audio.

What this legislation means for us and for Community Health Centers across the state is that more patients get high-quality care, that we are furthering our ability to reach patients, and that the barriers to care are easier to navigate today than they have been in the past.

Other bills that LPCA worked to support are HB 587 by Representative Pat Moore, HB 320 by Representative Christopher Turner, and HB 100 by Representative Dustin Miller. Overall, LPCA tracked 115 pieces of legislation and had the support of over 500 advocates.

The legislative process can be long and arduous, but with the right people in your community, willing to take time away from their day, their work, or their family to express how critical continued access to care is for their neighbors and for their state, we can make a change for the better. The work it takes to support Louisiana’s and the country’s Community Health Centers cannot be done alone, and on behalf of LPCA, I want to say thank you to every person who has given their time and effort to making this legislative session and advocacy throughout the year a success.

If you are not a Health Center Advocate, please consider joining here. If you are part of a Community Health Center and want to learn how your organization can become an Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) please click here.

*To submit to LPCA’s Health Center Voice Blog, please reach out to Abigail Giroir at To view other bogs from LPCA, visit