Study Calls for Missouri Regional Authority for Indigent Care
A study of the St. Louis health system by the Lewin Group calls for a new regional body that would have the "authority to fund, oversee and coordinate public health services and care of the indigent," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The report, presented Nov. 21 after a closed-door meeting with civic and health care leaders who comprise a group called the Healthcare for the Indigent Committee, was funded by Civic Progress, a group of St. Louis executives that "promotes public service." The committee, whose goal is to "find stable, long term funding for indigent health care," was formed in response to a funding crisis at ConnectCare, the city's primary indigent health care provider. With the committee's help, ConnectCare has found enough funding to complete this fiscal year, but it is not "out of the woods," according to ConnectCare Vice Chair James Buford. The study questions ConnectCare's financial security, noting that it draws funding from a "patchwork of temporary and unstable financial commitments," and recommends that some of Missouri's tobacco settlement funds be earmarked for the program. It also suggests that ConnectCare could save a tenth of its $40 million budget by closing a small sub-acute hospital and converting the facility's emergency room into an "extended hour urgent-care center." The study adds that one of the city's biggest indigent care problems is a lack of specialists wThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.