Healthcare Happenings, February 2018
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In This Issue
Gateway to Better Health Extended Through 2022!
RHC Approves Chronic Pain as Regional Health Priority
Congratulations to Alive & Well Communities!
St. Louis Hosts Ninth and Final Stop of Missouri's Opioid Summit
RHC Selected as Lead for Behavioral Health Assessment and Triage Center
The RHC Welcomes April Jolly!
The RHC Also Welcomes Rich Liekweg!
RHC in the News
Upcoming Events
Provider Services Advisory Board Meeting

Gateway Pilot Program Planning Team 
February 14, 2018

Community Advisory Board Meeting

Commission Monthly Board Meeting

Provider Services Advisory Board Meeting

Community Advisory Board Meeting
March 20, 2018

Commission Monthly Board Meeting

Provider Services Advisory Board Meeting
April 3, 2018

Gateway Pilot Program Planning Team

Gateway Operations Team
April 12, 2018 

Community Advisory Board Meeting

Commission Monthly Board Meeting

Provider Services Advisory Board Meeting

Community Advisory Board Meeting
May 15, 2018 

Commission Monthly Board Meeting
May 16, 2018
About the RHC
Gateway to Better Health Extended Through 2022! 
T he   State of Missouri has received a five-year extension of its successful "Gateway to Better Health" (Gateway) Pilot Program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Before the five-year extension, the program was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2017.
Gateway provides primary, specialty and urgent care coverage each year to approximately 24,000 uninsured adults, ages 19-64, living in poverty in St. Louis City and County, through a network of community providers. Gateway is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Social Services in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC). The extension of the Pilot Program preserves up to $30 million in annual funding for important community healthcare in St. Louis' urban core through December 31, 2022. These funds will assist in providing a bridge for safety net providers and for approximately 24,000 uninsured patients to coverage options.
"The extension of Gateway to Better Health will enable 24,000 St. Louisans to maintain their access to vital primary and specialty health care services for up to five years," said Robert Fruend, Jr., CEO of the RHC. "Without Gateway, thousands of St. Louis residents would be unable to access the care they need to maintain their health and well-being."
Under the terms of the extension, Gateway will continue to cover individuals up to 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) for primary, specialty and urgent care through December 31, 2022. For more information about Gateway eligibility, please visit
The RHC will continue to coordinate, monitor and report on the Demonstration Project. Since July 2012, Gateway has annually paid for about 78,000 medical visits (primary care, urgent care, dental, specialty care, diagnostic services and outpatient hospital services), nearly 7,000 transportation rides to access medical services, and more than 268,000 prescriptions for the uninsured in St. Louis. Gateway also prevents an estimated 75,000 unnecessary emergency department visits each year.
With the approval of the five-year extension, the Commission will continue working with its partners and federal delegates to ensure Gateway members maintain access to quality primary and specialty care services in the St. Louis region.
"Thank you to Governor Greitens and his administration, the State of Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Lacy Clay, and Congresswoman Ann Wagner for their commitment to preserve the healthcare safety net for the medically underserved in the St. Louis region," said Fruend.
RHC Approves Chronic Pain as Regional Health Priority for 2018

Due to the high volume of orthopedic specialty requests for the "Gateway to Better Health" program since its inception in 2012, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission commissioned an orthopedic referral analysis in August 2016. The corresponding report, Orthopedic Referral Study: Assessment of Current Practices and Recommendations Regarding the Care of Patients with Musculoskeletal Problems, was approved by the RHC in August 2017. 

Key findings included the high prevalence of musculoskeletal chronic pain (pain duration of more than 3 months) and the multifaceted opportunities to improve chronic pain treatment and prevention for patients in the St. Louis safety network. This view was strongly shared by all stakeholders interviewed, including: patients, primary care providers, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, pain management specialists, clinical operations staff, Gateway Operations team members, and RHC Advisory Boards.

In November 2017, the RHC's two advisory boards came to the consensus that chronic pain is an important regional public health issue, voting to prioritize this topic in 2018-2019. The RHC subsequently approved chronic pain as a key focus area, with the following four deliverables: 
  1. A system-focused implementation plan to support patients and providers in the optimal management of chronic pain (musculoskeletal pain of over 3 months' duration)
  2. A policy statement focused on local and/or State changes that could reduce the impact of and enhance prevention of chronic pain in the St. Louis region, and potentially, the State of Missouri
  3. A communication plan to raise awareness of the pervasiveness and impact of chronic pain on individuals and communities
  4. An evaluation design to measure the effectiveness of any changes proposed in the above deliverables
For more background information,  click here
Congratulations to Alive & Well Communities!

In 2017, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission voted to spin off its  Alive and Well STL  initiative into its own organization. After significant dialogue with multiple stakeholders, Trauma Matters KC determined in August 2017 to move forward with Alive and Well STL to create Alive and Well Communities. This new non-profit will create, build and sustain a network of trauma-informed and resilient communities, beginning with Kansas City (Alive and Well Kansas City) and St. Louis (Alive and Well St. Louis). 

Since it's inception in 2014, Alive and Well STL staff has:
  • provided frequent trainings to schools, health care providers and social service providers, reaching nearly 18,000 individuals to date;
  • launched two consecutive 18-month learning collaboratives, helping 26 schools and 7 health providers in the St. Louis region advance their work in becoming trauma-informed organizations;
  • hired seven "community consultants" who will provide trainings to neighborhoods within the Promise Zone
  • recruited more than 150 Alive and Well STL Ambassadors to help St. Louis become trauma-informed; and
  • engaged more than 45,000 followers on Facebook with more than 150 million media impressions (via television, radio and print)! 
Congratulations to the Alive & Well Communities team as they continue building a trauma-informed region!

Join the local conversation by following Alive and Well STL on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube! To learn more, visit or email

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St. Louis Hosts Ninth and Final Stop of Missouri's Opioid Summit

The RHC proudly co-sponsored the final stop of a nine-city tour of Missouri where participants discussed the opioid crisis and action steps to curb this growing epidemic. The summit drew more than 500 people to register and attend. Thank you to Melba Moore, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis and RHC Commissioner, for her leadership on this summit!  

RHC Selected as Lead for Behavioral Health Assessment and Triage Center Feasibility Study

In the City of Saint Louis and Saint Louis County, many individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) and problematic substance use (SU) are not being adequately treated, resulting in an increased number of encounters in emergency departments (ED) and the criminal justice system. These systems may not be the appropriate settings for all individuals with SMI and SU to receive support and treatment. Additionally, there is increasing pressure put on providers and first-responders due to recent trends in opioid abuse. Leaders across the St. Louis region recognize that an intentional process is needed to connect these individuals to resources that facilitate treatment, recovery, support services, and housing. Regional stakeholders are interested in exploring the feasibility of an Assessment and Triage Center that would provide more comprehensive care, improve community health, and result in system-wide cost-savings.


The Saint Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council met in November 2017 and formally requested that the RHC "serve as the coordinating entity and provide a dedicated staff person to support the community collaborative."  The Commission approved RHC's lead role in the planning process, pending funding and additional detail.


To learn more about the study, please contact April Jolly ( ). 
The RHC Welcomes April Jolly!

We are excited to welcome April Jolly to the RHC team as the Director of Strategic Planning! Before joining the RHC, April was most recently the Clinical Program Manager for Neurosciences at Barnes-Jewish Hospital,  where she supported the stroke and cerebrovascular program. 
The RHC Also Welcomes Rich Liekweg! 

We are excited to welcome Rich Liekweg, President & CEO of BJC HealthCare, to the RHC's board. Thank you to Rich for his commitment, and to all of our Commissioners and Advisory Board Members for your continued dedication and contribution to access to health care for the region.

Don't Miss the Conversation: Follow the RHC on Twitter and Facebook!


For real-time updates on the work of the RHC, including Gateway information and Alive and Well STL, follow us online:   


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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. 

Robert Fruend, Jr. 
Chief Executive Officer
St. Louis Regional Health Commission