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January 2012

St. Louis Regional Health Commission
Healthcare Happenings
In This Issue
"Gateway to Better Health" Demonstration to Launch July 1, 2012
Regional Psychiatric Stabilization Center Set top Open Early 2012
RHC Celebrates 10 Years of Success
$1.5 Million Grant to Expand Behavioral Health Services
Community/University Partnerships Extended
Health Status Events and Report Coming 2012
RHC Does Social Media
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The St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC) is a collaborative effort of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, the state of Missouri, health providers, and community members with a mission to improve the health of uninsured and underinsured citizens in St. Louis City and County.


The 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 for your commitment to improving the health of those in our community with limited access to healthcare services.  




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In July 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the "Gateway to Better Health" Demonstration Project.  CMS outlined 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.


The RHC serves as the fiscal agent for the region for this Demonstration. Visit for more information.


Through this Demonstration, RHC has provided more than $35 million in St. Louis to date - funds otherwise not available to the region. This support has made possible more than 100,000 uninsured patient visits to community health centers in St. Louis since July 2010, preventing tens of thousands unnecessary emergency room visits in St. Louis.   


In addition to this success to date, hundreds of individuals have been diligently working to prepare for the July 1, 2012 "go live" of the pilot coverage model portion of the "Gateway" Demonstration.   About 15,000 uninsured St. Louisans, or approximately 200 individuals each day, will need to be enrolled to make the model a success.   Enrollment efforts began in November at qualifying community health centers. All materials concerning the Demonstration are available for review at  


The Commission would especially like to thank the team at the State of Missouri, especially our friends at the MO HeathNet and Family Support divisions, for all their extra efforts to make this model such a success for the region.


Regional Psychiatric Stabilization Center Set to Open 

 mpc picIn May 2010, the State of Missouri asked the RHC to facilitate a regional planning process in the wake of the closure of acute and emergency mental health services at the State's mental health hospital in St. Louis, the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center (MPC).

The RHC's 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. 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.  This collaborative process was featured in the October 2010 issue of St. Louis Magazine.   


Good news! After months of planning, a new St. Louis Regional Psychiatric Stabilization Center (PSC) is set to open in early 2012. The region's two largest health systems - BJC HealthCare and SSM Health Care - have partnered with the State in a unique private-public partnership to open these vital mental health services for the region.   The RHC was pleased to provide up to $1.5 million in start-up funds to make this new service a reality for St. Louis. The new PSC will have a crisis mental health emergency room, and will open with 16 stabilization beds that may be expanded to up to 50 beds if federal funds become available.   Detailed information is available at   


For more information, you may contact the new President of the St. Louis Regional Psychiatric Stabilization Center, John Eiler, at


community partnership


Thank you to all that joined together on September 17 to celebrate the RHC's 10th anniversary, and to the panelists who contributed to each of the four sessions held that day: Preparing for Health Care Reform in the St. Louis Region; Working Together to Improve Access for All; Improving Community/University Relations - Building on Recent Successes; and Transforming Behavioral Health Services - Continuing the Progress.


Also, the St. Louis region is especially grateful to Rima Cohen, Counselor to the Secretary at US Department of Health and Human Services, for traveling from Washington, D.C. to provide the keynote address.   The RHC's 10th anniversary report, including a "Report Card to the Community" that shows the progress toward implementing the 2003 regional strategic plan for improving health care in St. Louis, may be downloaded at    


The RHC and the Episcopal Presbyterian Health Trust announced a joint investment of approximately $1.5 million to support expanded and integrated behavioral health services at community health centers in north St. Louis City and north St. Louis County.   Betty Jean Kerr People's Health Centers and the North/Central Health Center of St. Louis County (in Pine Lawn) each received funds to support the expansion of critical behavioral health services to low-income residents in our region.   These new projects begin January 1, 2012.   The RHC would like to thank the Episcopalian/Presbyterian Health Trust and the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation for their ongoing partnership to make these vital services available for those most in need in our community.



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RHC recently announced that four community/university partnerships have been extended for a second year of funding under the "Community/University Health Research Partnership" initiative.   In 2010, BJC HealthCare, Saint Louis University, and Washington University provided $1.5 million in research funding to be administered by the RHC to identify innovative models that have the potential to improve the health of the St. Louis community and foster long-term relationships between academic researchers and community organizations.   Congratulations to the Breakfast Club, the Diabetes Coalition, Gateway Greening, the Maternal, Child and Family Health Coalition, and their academic partners at St. Louis University and Washington University for the great successes to date, and for receiving support for the second year of their collaborative projects.   More information about these exciting initiatives may be found at



dental picAs part of the events celebrating the RHC's 10 year anniversary, the RHC has announced a new initiative to gather health status and socio-economic data over the past 10 years to track how far the St. Louis region has come, and how far the region still has to go, to "Build a Healthier St. Louis".   Dr. Dolores Gunn, Director of Health for St. Louis County, and Pam Walker, St. Louis City 's Health Director, are leading a regional RHC team to release these health status indicators throughout 2012.   The goal is to determine what has worked well over the past 10 years, so our region can replicate these successes, as well as find out where efforts still lag behind State and national trends.   The RHC's first community meeting is scheduled for February 1 to obtain community input into this important process. Please visit - or our Facebook and Twitter pages - to keep updated on this initiative.

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Each day, the staff at RHC receives many interesting reports, announcements, and bits of information that are important to members of the St. Louis health care community. We are now making this information available to you through a daily Facebook/Twitter posting to continue to serve as a resource for health care information for the region.   Several hundred followers - and more each week - have subscribed to RHC's daily updates. If you have an interesting event or information that you would like us to consider posting, please email it to    

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Your dedication and continued support are what make these efforts possible.  We look forward to continued partnership with you in the months ahead. To find out more about RHC and regional health care happenings, please visit our Twitter and Facebook pages for daily updates.

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Robert Fruend
Chief Executive Officer
St. Louis Regional Health Commission