Health nonprofit sues Louisiana for unpaid $12M, alleges defamation
A government-financed nonprofit aimed at improving Louisiana's health information technology is suing the state health department, saying the agency hasn't paid $12 million in promised funding and the health secretary has damaged the nonprofit's reputation.
The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Baton Rouge state district court, says the lack of funding jeopardizes an electronic medical records program and years of state-supported work to improve medical record-sharing among health providers.
The nonprofit also claims Health Secretary Rebekah Gee is harming its business by publishing critical statements about the forum on the health department website despite knowing they "were false and defamatory."
The forum was created in 2007, backed by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco and lawmakers in a post-Hurricane Katrina initiative to improve health care in the state. Technology upgrades, in which doctors, hospitals and other providers can share medical records, were a primary aim.