GATEWAY TO BETTER HEALTH PROGRAM EXTENDED THROUGH 2015
Federal Government Extends Health Care Program for Uninsured Adults in St. Louis City and County
ST. LOUIS, August 1, 2014 — The State of Missouri has received a one-year extension of its successful “Gateway to Better Health” (Gateway) Pilot Program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Gateway provides primary, specialty and urgent care coverage to approximately 22,000 uninsured adults in St. Louis City and County, ages 19-64, through a network of community providers and is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Social Services in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC). Before the extension, the program was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014.
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, 2015. These funds will assist in providing a bridge for safety net providers and for approximately 22,000 uninsured patients to coverage options until long term options are developed in Missouri.
“As we in Missouri continue to evaluate long-term solutions for healthcare coverage for those in poverty, we are grateful to receive an extension of the Gateway to Better Health Demonstration Project from our Federal partners,” said Robert Fruend, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission. “We are deeply grateful to our Federal delegation, state and local partners for their strong support in ensuring that the healthcare safety net remains in place in the St. Louis region.”
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, 2015. For more information about Gateway eligibility, please visit http://www.stlgbh.com/.
The RHC will continue to coordinate, monitor and report on the Demonstration Project. Since the Pilot Program began in July 2012, Gateway has annually paid for approximately 51,000 primary care visits, 29,000 specialty care visits, and 230,000 medications for the uninsured in St. Louis. Gateway also prevents an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 unnecessary emergency department visits each year.
With the approval of the Demonstration Project extension, the Commission will continue working with its partners to ensure Gateway members maintain access to quality primary and specialty care services in the St. Louis region. The Commission also will continue its efforts to support the transformation and expansion of Medicaid eligibility in Missouri up to 133% FPL as a long-term solution to increased access to quality healthcare services.
The Commission is thankful for the continued support of the Gateway Demonstration from our federal and state partners and we are grateful for all their hard work to secure this vital funding and ensure continued health care access for our region. The Commission would especially like to thank Senator McCaskill, Senator Blunt, Congressman Clay and Congresswoman Wagner for their united support of this important program. See below for a letter of appreciation from the St. Louis Congressional Delegation to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.