Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for Nov. 23, 2021
Interim Committee Recommends Improvements to MO HealthNet
After conducting five hearings and listening to testimony from state leaders, advocates and stakeholders, the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection is in the process of writing the second of two reports on our state’s MO HealthNet (Medicaid) program. The first report dealt with abortion providers and their affiliates, and I’m pleased to report that the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Social Services have issued emergency rules to tighten up their rules and regulations, which if not followed, can affect licensure for such facilities. The second report focuses on the efficacy of our MO HealthNet system and contains the following five main recommendations to improve our state’s Medicaid program:
- Use our surplus of federal COVID and stimulus funds to replace outdated computer information systems within the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Senior Services;
- Develop a public dashboard to help benefit recipients navigate the programs and improve transparency;
- Create a unified a fee schedule to align services throughout the state and improve managed care;
- Modify the state statute relating to abuse in senior care facilities by adding a negligence provision;
- Extend MO HealthNet coverage to one year for postpartum women to address our state’s high maternal mortality rates.
I want to thank the members of the committee, the department leaders and committed citizens who took the time to work with us on these issues. I believe our recommendations will improve the quality, transparency and outcomes of our state’s Medicaid Program.
Attention Veterans! Register for a Free Legal Consultation
Tigers for Troops, a program through the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic, is partnering with Mizzou Extension to help veterans in rural areas file claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The free, virtual consultations on Dec. 3 will provide assistance with disability benefits, discharge upgrades and health care. Schedule an appointment before noon on Dec. 1 by calling Martha Bradley at 573-882-5733. If you are unavailable on Dec. 3, call 573-882-7630 to schedule an appointment for a later date.
Governor Proclaims November as Adoption Awareness Month
On Nov. 18, the governor signed a proclamation to designate November as Adoption Awareness Month in Missouri. Over 1,600 children are waiting for a forever home, so if you are able, please consider embracing one of these deserving kids. Ellen and I adopted two children through the foster care system and know how important and completely rewarding it is to give a child a hopeful outlook on life. Legislation passed last year will help offset some of the costs associated with fostering a child, so now is the perfect time to open your home to a little one in need.
Missouri State Parks Recruit Veterans
With the passage of my Senate Bill 120 last session, qualified veterans and their families are now given hiring preference when applying for state jobs, like the ones available through the State Parks division of the Department of Natural Resources. Put your boots back on the ground and your expertise into action in our beautiful state parks by applying today.
Flags Surround Seneca Veterans Memorial
The Seneca Betterment Committee hosted a dedication ceremony for the newly expanded Veterans Memorial at City Hall on Nov. 11. I was honored to attend the event and say a few words to the audience. The Seneca High School choir sang the official songs of each branch of the armed services while its corresponding flag was raised.
Attendees at the Seneca Veterans Memorial dedication ceremony watch the raising of the POW/MIA flag.
Local Clinic Wins Rural Health Champion Award
Congratulations to the team at Joplin’s Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri for receiving this year’s Rural Health Champion Award, presented during the Department of Health and Senior Service’s Rural Health Awareness Conference. National Rural Health Day, celebrated this year on Nov. 18, spotlights strategies used to achieve rural health equity.
Dr. John Paulson, Kristine Gustafson and Stephanie Brady pose with the clinic’s Rural Health Champion Award and certificate.
Red Kettle Campaign is Underway
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign celebrated its 130th anniversary during its kickoff event on Nov. 1, and I was honored to attend and present a resolution to the staff at the Salvation Army of Jasper and Newton counties. Historically, our local Salvation Army has collected enough funds in each kettle every two hours to feed a family of four for an entire week! When you see the bell-ringers during the holiday season, drop some change in their kettles and help them reach this year’s goal of $400,000. Every little bit helps those who need it in our community.
My Favorite Holidays
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and it conveniently occurs a couple of weeks after my other favorite, Veterans Day. See what these two observances have in common by reading my column, Welcome Home.
Wishing you and your family a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving!