Following the closure of the last remaining public hospital in St. Louis in 2001, the region faced a fiscal crisis jeopardizing the St. Louis healthcare safety net, which provides access to essential healthcare services for people experiencing barriers to appropriate, timely, affordable and continuous health services.
Civic Progress, an organization comprised of the leading corporate executives in St. Louis, formed a task force to address the immediate funding crisis for the safety net. The participants recommended the formation of a Regional Health Commission, a consortium of government representatives, providers of care, and members of the community charged with developing and implementing a long-range plan to improve health care access and delivery to the uninsured and underinsured.
Thus, the idea for the RHC was born.
Since its inception in 2001, the RHC has preserved over $400 million to maintain and enhance health care services for the region’s safety net care. Other major accomplishments of the RHC include:
- Increased access to outpatient safety net health care services in community health centers by:
- Providing approximately 125,000 additional primary care visits annually (an annual increase of 25.7%) between 2001-2011
- Increasing the annual number of specialty care visits by approximately 56,000 (an annual increase of 38.5%) between 2001-2011
- Doubling the number of dental visits provided by the safety net to over 100,000 visits annually from 2001 to 2011
- Integrated our region’s health care system for greater efficiency by:
- Forming the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN), an umbrella organization for safety net providers in the St. Louis region. The IHN has implemented numerous programs to improve quality and access between health centers and hospitals in the areas of highest need
- Completing the merger between St. Louis ConnectCare’s primary care clinics and two Federally-Qualified Health Centers improving access to medical homes for tens of thousands of St. Louisans
- Created the “Health Literacy Task Force” and held the 2006 Regional Health Literacy Summit, the genesis for the “Health Literacy Missouri” organization now in operation across the State of Missouri
- Designed the St. Louis Community/University Health Research Partnerships (CUHRP), a vehicle through which to focus research efforts on health care problems of importance to the community with the goal of improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities
- Led the Eastern Region Behavioral Health Initiative, bringing together mental health and substance abuse providers and community advocates to integrate behavioral and physical health providers, out of which the Behavioral Health Network (BHN) was formed
- Transformed access to and delivery of behavioral health services in our region through collaborative efforts by:
- Spearheading the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center Regional Planning process at the request of the Missouri Department of Mental Health and opening the St. Louis Psychiatric Stabilization Center (PSC), an acute psychiatric access center and treatment unit
- Piloted the Gateway to Better Health Demonstration transitioning 25,000 uninsured and underinsured individuals into a coverage model in preparation for the implementation of federal healthcare reform
- Connecting the uninsured and Medicaid populations to a primary care home at a Federally Qualified Health Center and enhanced patient choice for this population
- Enrolled an additional 20,000 individuals in Medicaid including 11,000 children
- Increased reporting mechanisms for purposes of fact-based planning and accountability
- Became a national model for improving access to health care services for the uninsured
To learn more about what we’ve done in the past, check out our Past Work.