ST. LOUIS, April 2, 2019 — The State of Missouri has received approval to provide substance use disorder treatment services to its “Gateway to Better Health” (Gateway) Pilot Program population from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition to current services, the Gateway network of community primary care providers will now be able to offer office visits, counseling and generic medications for substance use disorder treatment to the Gateway population.

Gateway is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Social Services in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC). Under the terms of program, Gateway will continue to provide primary, specialty, and urgent care coverage to uninsured adults, ages 19-64, living in poverty in St. Louis City and County, via a network of community providers through December 31, 2022.

“The integration of primary care and substance use treatment is a major step in the right direction to improve access to substance use services that will ultimately lead to improved health outcomes and better care coordination,” said Angela Brown, Acting CEO of the RHC.

The addition of these services would not be possible without the support of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.  In June 2018, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared the opioid epidemic in the county a public health emergency and endorsed an opioid action plan to combat the opioid crisis that included a recommendation for increased funding for substance use disorder treatment for uninsured individuals. The treatment benefit will allow recipients (nearly 20,000 individuals per year in the St. Louis region) to access treatment for opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders at regional community health centers, including the 3 Saint Louis County Department of Public Health clinics.

“This benefit will increase treatment capacity and save lives,” said Spring Schmidt, Acting Director of Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Accessible, affordable treatment for substance use disorder can be challenging to find. The addition of a substance use disorder benefit for Gateway patients increases access as part of a system-level response to the opioid epidemic across the region. Substance use disorder treatment will now be available at all 3 County Health Centers as well as Federally Qualified Health Centers.”

With the approval of the substance use disorder benefit, the Commission will continue working with its partners and federal delegates to ensure Gateway members maintain access to quality health care services in the St. Louis region.

“Thank you to our Gateway network of community providers for their commitment to addressing this need in our community,” said Brown. “These services are critical to reducing health disparities and preventing emergency department visits and hospitalizations.”

For more information about Gateway, please visit www.stlgbh.com or contact Angela Brown at (314) 446-6452. For more information about the St. Louis County opioid action plan and monitoring the plan’s progress, please visit www.stlouisco.com/recover.