You have likely already seen in the news that insurance industry attempts to deny emergency department care have been panned by consumers, patient advocates, health systems, politicians and the media. Here in Missouri, Anthem's attempt to do so is being met with significant opposition and a proposed state law. We are fully supportive of the law in Missouri to ensure no patient chooses not to receive emergent care when in need.
The debate in Washington D.C. on Medicaid and possible reforms to how the program is administered continues. In the meantime, the state of Missouri remains responsible for this multibillion dollar program and the hundreds of thousands of Missourians that depend on it for health care coverage.
BJC, as a whole, is a fair representation of the larger health care provider community. We deliver care in a variety of settings: hospital, home, work and school. We teach the next generation of doctors and nurses. And, we treat patients in urban settings, rural ones, disparate regions and more affluent zip codes. Because of this, we are well positioned to educate policy makers on the potential impacts of health care reforms. We intend to do so as it relates to changes in Missouri's Medicaid program, whether block grants, per capita caps or other delivery and administration reform ideas under consideration in Jefferson City and Washington D.C.
Because of the significant amount of risk that many policymakers are suggesting the state assume in some of these reform proposals, we will also continue to advocate for specific patient and provider protections to be added to state law governing Medicaid HMOs.
There is near universal consensus that a lack of providers in the U.S. health care industry is a looming threat to the health of Americans. Here in Missouri, we are no different. However, we have yet to respond, as many other states have, by granting advanced practice nurses their own license with a scope of practice that aligns with their education and experience. We will continue to advocate for this important change to Missouri law until it becomes a reality.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Opioid abuse is on the rise and Missouri is the last state in the country without a statewide program to monitor for doctor shopping and drug abuse through a prescription drug monitoring program. Though support for programs and laws aimed at helping to curb opioid addiction is near the top of the list in political consensus nationwide, Missouri remains the outlier. In 2018, we will again advocate for our state to join the rest of the nation in monitoring the sale of narcotics to ensure our patients receive proper treatment and our providers can rest assured they are not contributing to the epidemic of opioid abuse. We will also continue to advocate in favor PDMPs being established by local governments in lieu of a state solution.
Access to Mental and Behavioral Health Services
After decades of taking a back seat to other social issues, it has become obvious we need to address the broken system of care for millions of Americans suffering from mental illness. Access to treatment and a push to get treatment—including appropriate pharmaceuticals along with therapy, social assistance, housing, and peer counseling—can make a dramatic difference.
BJC is committed to being a part of the solution through identifying ways to better enable access to care, incentivize more people to become mental health providers, and to address funding for community providers who have been tasked to care for the bulk of those with mental and behavioral health conditions.
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Page updated 3/28/18