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August 2010

St. Louis Regional Health Commission
Healthcare Happenings
In This Issue
Gateway to Better Health Demonstration Project Approved
CUHRP 2010 Awardees Announced
RHC Behavioral Health Initiative Concludes
Regional Psychiatric Capacity Planning Underway
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  RHC in the News!

RHC and its partners have been featured in several articles that highlight the work being done to improve the delivery of health care services.  Articles can be viewed by clicking here.
The RHC is a collaborative effort of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, the state of Missouri, health providers, and community members to improve the health of uninsured and underinsured citizens in St. Louis City and County.
The quarterly Healthcare Happenings newsletter is our way of keeping you informed on our progress in these efforts.  Thank you for taking time to read this newsletter and thank you for your commitment to improving the health of those in our community with limited access to healthcare services.

"Gateway to Better Health Missouri Demonstration Project" Approved! 

stl arch 2On July 29, 2010, the State of Missouri received approval of a "Gateway to Better Health Demonstration Project" from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Demonstration will allow the redirection of $30 million in annual Medicaid funding to preserve and expand important community health center services in St. Louis' urban core. These funds will assist in the transition to expanded coverage under the new Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). 
The funds provided by the Demonstration Project will be used to improve care and access at community health centers in the St. Louis region. These funds represent about 25 percent of the total budget for community health centers operating in St. Louis. With the approval of the Demonstration Project, the Commission will begin immediately working with its partners to develop a plan for effectively transitioning the patients in the health care safety net to coverage provided through federal Health Care Reform.
The approval is a major achievement for the St. Louis region, and we extend special recognition to our partners who helped to make this happen.  We extend our deepest gratitude to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other federal partners for their efforts, and to Governor Nixon, Director Levy and Dr. McCaslin from the State of Missouri for submitting the application on our behalf.  Without Director Levy and Dr. McCaslin's leadership, and the great talents of the Mo HealthNet team, we would have not been successful.  Also, we would like to extend our thankfulness to the entire St. Louis Federal Delegation for coming together to speak as one strong voice to support the State in its application.   The fact that all five members of the delegation strongly supported the Demonstration was key to our efforts.  In addition, Mayor Slay and County Executive Dooley's leadership was essential in showing strong regional executive sponsorship for the Demonstration, and Civic Progress, the St. Louis hospitals and community health centers, and the advocate community all came together as one, and each played pivotal roles at various times to move the process along so expeditiously.

The St. Louis Regional Health Commission will coordinate, monitor and report on the Demonstration Project, continuing its work of the last 10 years. Since the region formed the Commission, access to community health center services has dramatically increased by more than 120,000 additional annual visits, and St. Louis has become a national model for innovative ways to improve safety net health care services.
For more information on the demonstration project, please click here.
The Commission was honored to host Rima Cohen, Counselor to the Secretary for Health Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, during Community Health Center week.  Thanks to all the Commissioners, advisory board members and other friends of the RHC for attending, as well as, Judy Baker, Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director for Region VII, for visiting and arranging the Ms. Cohen's trip. 
St. Louis Community/Universith Health Research Partnerships
2010 Awardees Announced!
shake handsAs a direct response to discussions from two forums held by the RHC on "medical/health research and the St. Louis Community", in 2009, BJC HealthCare, Saint Louis University and Washington University provided $1.5 million in funds to establish the St. Louis Community/University Health Research Partnerships (CUHRP) initiative.  CUHRP is a program designed to provide a vehicle through which to focus research efforts on health care problems of importance to the community with the goal of improving health outcomes, reducing health disparities and fostering long-term collaborations between universities and community-based organizations.
In July, the program awarded seven research partnerships, up to $100,000 per project for a one-year period, to investigate, analyze and publicly report findings on an existing health concern within the St. Louis community. Research projects that produce significant findings requiring additional funding for program development and implementation may be eligible for a second year of funding.

The 2010 St. Louis Community/University Research Partnership Awardees are:


         Kendra Copanas (Maternal Child and Family Health Coalition) and Pamela Xaverius (SLU): Advancing Interconception Wellness Among At-Risk Post-Partum Women


          Ben Cooper (Nurses for Newborns) and Nancy Weaver (SLU): Promoting Safe Environment and Parenting Practices with Home Visitation Programs 


         William Hildebrandt (Queen of Peace Center) and Stephen Wernet (SLU): Evaluation of a Peer Delivered Recovery Management Checkup Model Among Substance Abuse Women


          Joan McGinnis (St. Louis Diabetes Coalition) and Thomas Burroughs (SLU): Self-management Education and Support for Diabetes Care Improvement: Linking High-Touch and High-Tech Approaches 


         Sherrill Jackson (Breakfast Club Inc) and Mary Politi/Matthew Krueter (WU): Connecting Rarely/Never Screened Women to Mammography Via Kiosks and Navigators


          Hannah Reinhart (Gateway Greening) and Susan Racette (WU): Nourishing an Urban Community II


          Lori Behrens (SIDS Resources) and James Kemp (WU): Assessing the Delivery of Prevention Messages for Infant Mortality 


The awardees were selected by a scientific grant review panel and a grant award panel comprised of community and university representatives who considered scientific quality, potential for positive impact on health outcomes and disparities, and whether the project fits with the interests of the St. Louis community. 

RHC's Behavioral Health Initiative Concludes Successfully

introsSince 2006, the RHC along with the State of Missouri, mental health and substance abuse providers and community advocates have been working to transform access to and the delivery of behavioral health services.  Over the past four years, the region has taken critical steps that have made substantial progress to improving access to mental health and substance abuse services.  These successes include: fostering collaboration and integration between the region's behavioral and physical health providers; implementing meaningful strategies to put patients and families at the center of the delivery system; and reorganizing the way patients access and flow through the behavioral health system.  
June 24, 2010 Behavioral Health Summit
After four years of involvement, the RHC's role in this initiative ended with a summit that attracted over 325 attendees from various fields and backgrounds.  The summit, entitled "Pathways to Progress: Transforming the Behavioral Health System", provided a forum for attendees to discuss current events, promising initiatives, and long-term planning occurring in the region with local, state and federal experts. Through four breakout sessions, the summit highlighted key areas of importance for both ERBHI and the region, including: reducing stigma and increasing cultural competency, integrating primary and behavioral health services, changes occurring to the mental health and substance abuse system in the region and the financing of the system on the national, state and local levels.   
Behavioral Health Report Release
The RHC is pleased to announce the release of its Behavioral Health Report.  This report is culmination of all the work the region has done over the past four years.  Click here to view the report.
Although the RHC will no longer be involved with the direct facilitation of this initiative, we are happy to see the dedication and commitment the community has made to continue these efforts.  We look forward to working with the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis, the State of Missouri, providers, advocates and community members as they continue to implement changes to improve the overall health of the community.

Regional Psychiatric Capacity Planning Underway 

mpc picIn April 2010, the State of Missouri announced plans to close the emergency department and the 50 remaining acute care beds at the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center (MPC) as a result of declining state revenues.  MPC has closed its emergency department and 25 acute care beds, effective July 15, 2010.  The remaining 25 beds will close by May 2011.
In an effort to address the immediate challenges caused by the closure of MPC, on May 19, 2010, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission was asked by the State of MO Department of Mental Health to facilitate the development of a community-driven plan to address these challenges.  In response to the state's request, the RHC convened a regional Planning Group on May 27, 2010, and a Short-Term Crisis Management Team on June 3, 2010. These groups have been meeting regularly to understand the scope and scale of the closure and its impact on the community and to identify and address the key issues the closure creates.
The Short-Term Crisis Team, with the input and approval of the Planning Group, completed an "Impact Statement" and "Emergency Response, Capacity and Communications Plan". The Emergency Response, Capacity and Communications Plan is designed to identify the best possible solutions to the challenges created by the closure, recognizing that the closure strains existing health care providers, especially emergency departments, creating challenges for patients and families.
While the regional Planning Group will continue to meet, the work of the Short-Term Crisis Team has ended.  The RHC has formed a Regional Psychiatric Capacity Task Force to address the long-term capacity of the region's acute psychiatric care.  This Task Force will be chaired by James Sanger, CEO of SSM Health Care, and its first meeting is August 13.  
Please contact Jennifer Brinkman for more information. 
Your dedication and continued support are what make these efforts possible.  We look forward to continued partnership with you in the months ahead.
Robert Fruend
Chief Executive Officer
St. Louis Regional Health Commission