JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The chairman of a special Missouri House panel is outlining potential Medicaid changes that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children.
Jefferson City Republican Rep. Jay Barnes offered a detailed financial estimate Wednesday showing the potential changes could save about $42 million in revenues by the time the changes are fully implemented in 2021.
That figure assumes Missouri would spend more money to add adults living in poverty to its Medicaid rolls and subsidize private insurance policies through a federal online marketplace for adults earning slightly more than the poverty level.
It assumes savings to the state by eliminating Medicaid coverage for some children and blind adults. Barnes says they could get policies through the federally run health insurance exchange.
A clinic that serves mostly the uninsured and under-insured in St. Louis is closing its doors. St. Louis ConnectCare has announced it will close the Smiley Urgent Care Center November 15th.
The non-profit had announced in August it would shut down its specialty services, but now says it must also close the clinic at the old Regional Hospital on Delmar.
St. Louis Regional Health Commission Chief Robert Fruend believes other health care providers will follow suit because of state budget cuts. Fruend told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that 1,000 healthcare jobs have been lost in the region in the last six months.
The paper reports a Missouri Hospital Association estimate that the state will lose $4 billion in health care funding over the next six years, mainly from budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. They say the decision by Missouri lawmakers not to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act will further limit the amount of health care funds coming into the state.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials say the state saved about $44 million in five months because of a vendor's work to scrub unentitled Illinois residents from the Medicaid rolls. Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the savings Tuesday at a legislative hearing in Chicago.
The work by Reston, Va.-based Maximus resulted in the state canceling Medicaid for more than 125,000 people. Outsourcing that task will cost the state about $70 million over two years.
Hamos says 40 percent of the people kicked off Medicaid had no medical costs in the past six months, resulting in lower than projected savings.
She says Illinois officials still would like to complete the contract with Maximus and will appeal an arbitrator's ruling that would require the contract to be canceled Dec. 31.
Call it the tale of two hearings.
Missouri Senate and House committees each held hearings Wednesday on the state's Medicaid program. Each focused on different perspectives.
At the House hearing in St. Louis, most testified in favor of expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. But at the Senate hearing in Jefferson City, the stress was on the need to overhaul the system first -- by finding ways to reduce costs and improve care.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri's 8.5-billion dollar Medicaid program currently serves 875-thousand low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. Expansion would add about 260-thousand low-income, working people.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri officials say more than 1,300 Medicaid participants had some of their personal information mailed to incorrect addresses.
The Department of Social Services said Monday a software programming error led to the wrong mailings by a contractor called Infocrossing Inc.
The agency says the error was discovered June 6 and affected correspondence sent to 1,357 managed care participants from October 16th, 2011 through June 7th of this year.
The department says no personal medical or financial information was released. But it says the incorrect mailings could have included participants' names, birth dates, MO HealthNet identification numbers, phone numbers and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
Officials say there's no reason to believe any identity theft occurred, but Infocrossing is offering free credit monitoring services to those affected.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A steady stream of speakers at a Columbia Medicaid reform hearing urged a panel of citizens and Missouri lawmakers Saturday to not only reform but also expand the government-funded health care program.
The dozens of speakers included doctors, disability advocates, hospital executives and citizens who would become eligible for Medicaid under expansion envisioned by the federal Affordable Care Act.
The House Interim Committee on Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform is one of three special committees created by state lawmakers after the Republican-led Legislature repeatedly rejected Medicaid expansion proposals in the 2013 session.
Committee chairman Noel Torpey of Independence and several other legislators on the 52-person panel emphasized that repairing what he called a "broken" Medicaid system is equally if not more important than broadening access.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An audit by the Federal Office of Inspector General says Missouri should pay back more than $21 million in federal Medicaid payments made to a state-operated children's hospital in St. Louis County.
The audit found that Hawthorn Children's Psychiatric Hospital failed for five years to fulfill regulatory requirements to qualify for the federal Medicaid reimbursements.
Missouri Department of Social Services spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel says the department disagrees with the audit and will continue to defend its position. The state also filed a letter disagreeing with the finding.
The Office of Inspector General cannot require the state to pay back the money. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will decide whether to seek repayment of some or all of the money, and Missouri can appeal that decision.
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Doctors providing primary care in Illinois can get higher Medicaid reimbursement rates through the end of 2014.
Illinois officials are reminding doctors to sign up online for the higher rates, which are expected to increase by an average of 93 percent. If doctors sign up by June 30 they can get reimbursed at the higher rate retroactively to the beginning of this year.
Julie Hamos is director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. She says the temporary raise should help increase doctors' participation in Medicaid.
That's important because thousands of uninsured Illinois residents will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014.
The pay increase for primary care was authorized by the Affordable Care Act.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.
The House passed the measure 133-27 Monday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.
Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican senators have made it clear that there will be no Medicaid expansion in Missouri this session.
The Republican-led Senate voted down a Democratic attempt Monday night to insert $890 million of federal funds into Missouri's budget to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.
The vote was just the latest in a series of similar defeats in the Missouri Legislature for the Medicaid expansion backed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.
But this vote carried a bit more weight. That's because it ensured that neither the Senate nor the House version of the budget includes the Medicaid expansion. Under legislative rules, negotiators cannot insert money into the final budget that wasn't in either chamber's plan.