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December 2010

St. Louis Regional Health Commission
Healthcare Happenings
In This Issue
RHC Welcomes New Chief of Staff
Gateway to Better Health Demonstration Project Planning Underway
Regional Psychiatric Capacity Plan Released in October 2010
RHC Releases $1 M RFP to Expand Dental Services at Community Health Centers
IHN Selected as National Model
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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.

RHC Welcomes New Chief of Staff 

JB headshotThe RHC is pleased to announce Jennifer Brinkmann as its new Chief of Staff, effective October 1, 2010.  Jennifer brings more than 15 years of experience in communications and strategic planning to the RHC.  Most recently, she was a Senior Vice President for Standing Partnership where she led the healthcare practice.  Prior to joining Standing, she was president and partner at Davis Brand Capital where she was responsible for the firm's day-to-day operations as well as served as senior counsel on many of the firm's consulting engagements.

"Gateway to Better Health" Demonstration Project Planning Underway

On July 28, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the "Gateway to Better Health" Demonstration Project.  CMS outlinestl arch 2d several objectives of the Demonstration Project, including:

         preserving the safety net of health care services in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for the uninsured until a transition to health care coverage is available under the Affordable Care Act; and

         implementing a pilot program to transition the "St. Louis model" to a defined health coverage benefit model as opposed to a direct payment model by July 1, 2012.


Click here for more information.

The RHC convened a Pilot Program Planning Team, chaired by James Crane, MD, Washington University, on August 28, 2010.  The team was formed to begin developing recommendations for the pilot program and to ensure all the milestones of the "Gateway to Better Health" Demonstration Project are completed and submitted on time.  The goal of the pilot program is to provide a bridge to health care reform by preparing the safety net providers and their uninsured patients living in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for the coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act by January 1, 2014.  To date, the team has submitted the first deliverable, a strategic plan, which is available for review at

The Pilot Program Planning Team is looking for uninsured individuals between the ages of 19-64 to complete a survey that will help them plan the new coverage model. If you know individuals who meet these criteria, please direct them to 

Regional Psychiatric Capacity Plan Released in October 2010


mpc picOn October 20, 2010, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission concluded its direct staffing of the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center (MPC) Regional Planning process, regarding the closure of the emergency department and acute psychiatric inpatient beds at MPC. On this date, the RHC approved and submitted the Regional Psychiatric Capacity (RPC) Task Force's final report to the State of Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH).  Visit to review the final report.

The Regional Psychiatric Capacity Task Force, chaired by Jim Sanger, CEO, SSM Healthcare Systems, began meeting in August 2010, and was charged with developing recommendations to address long-term solutions for the closure of MPC and creating an analysis of acute psychiatric care capacity in the region.  One of the major recommendations from this team was a plan to re-establish services at MPC through the development of a Stabilization Center that includes an acute psychiatric access center and a brief treatment unit.  The final report includes details on the Stabilization Center Model, as well as an analysis of the inpatient psychiatric bed and outpatient capacity in the Eastern region and additional recommendations to address the closure of the emergency department and acute care services at MPC.

The RHC began staffing the regional planning process in May 2010 when DMH asked the RHC to facilitate the development of a community-driven plan to address the challenges caused by the closure of MPC in July 2010.  A Short-term Crisis Management Team, chaired by John Eiler, SSM Healthcare, was formed to address the immediate challenges caused by the closure of MPC.  The team met May through July 2010, and developed an "Impact Statement" and "Emergency Response, Capacity and Communications Plan." Both reports are available for review at

In addition to the Short-term Crisis Management Team and the RPC Task Force, the RHC convened the MPC Regional Planning Team to serve as an advisory group for the regional planning process.  This group met from May-October 2010, and reviewed and approved all the work of Short-term Crisis Management Team and the RPC Task Force. 

This collaborative process was featured in the October 2010 issue of St. Louis Magazine.  The Commission would like to thank the Missouri Foundation for Health for its financial support of these efforts, and the hundreds of participants who volunteered their time to collaborate in order to create meaningful solutions for those impacted most by MPC's closure. 

For more information, please contact Robert Fruend, 314.446.6454 x1131.

RHC Releases $1 M RFP to Expand Dental Services at Community Health Centers

dental picdental picThe RHC has allocated a total of $1,000,000 for the expansion of dental services within community health centers who are members of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network and provided a majority of services to residents of St. Louis City and/or County. Each individual community health center is eligible to apply to fund at least one dentist and necessary support staff and supplies for one year.

Improving access to dental services for the uninsured and underinsured was one of the ten recommendation areas in the RHC's 2003 Building A Healthier St. Louis report, available for review at  Although access to dental services has increased by forty percent, the region continues to identify access to dental services as a priority, especially since dental services for adults are not covered by the Missouri Medicaid Program.

The intent of this funding initiative is to add at least five new dentists to the community health center settings in 2011, who are then sustained after the RHC funding has been expended.  It is expected that an additional 10,000 dental visits (2,000 per dentist) will be made annually in St. Louis community health centers.

IHN Selected as National Model

ihn logoCongratulations to the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN) on becoming an Action Network (Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks) through the US Agency for Healthcare Quality Research (AHRQ).  St. Louis is one of 17 networks to be selected for this competitive designation.  As an ACTION Network, the IHN will enter into a partnership with George Washington University, giving the St. Louis region the ability to bid on federal contracts to implement task orders put out by AHRQ that involve innovations in healthcare delivery.  In addition, the IHN will have the opportunity to test/implement best practices across the network.  For more information on the St. Louis Integrated Health Network, visit

It has been a very eventful and successful year for healthcare in the St. Louis region.  Thanks to each of you for your dedication to our collaborative efforts.  We look forward to our continued partnerships in the new year.

Robert Fruend
Chief Executive Officer
St. Louis Regional Health Commission