JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-Missouri has applied for a federal Medicaid waiver to offer benefits to low-income, uninsured residents and to open the Medicaid program to bids from managed-care plans. If HHS approves the waiver request, the state will offer a benefits package on a sliding scale to 330,000 uninsured residents. It would draw federal matching funds. An adult with an annual income of $14,000, for example, could buy the package for $150 a month. The package includes physician office visits, hospital treatment and mental health services but not long-term care. If the waiver is approved, Missouri will test a managed-care Medicaid program in St. Louis and in an outlying rural area. Missouri officials estimate the changes could save more than $500 million in Medicaid expenses over five years. Medicaid spending is the fastest-growing component of the state budget. The state anticipates a response from HHS by the middle of October.
ST. LOUIS-Construction has begun on a $23 million replacement facility for 114-bed Malcolm Bliss Mental , a state-run psychiatric hospital. Missouri closed the current facility in 1991 and combined the hospital's programs with those of 279-bed St. Louis State Hospital. They'll be moved to the new facility when it's completed in January 1996. In the design, the three-story, 176,000-square-foot hospital surrounds an outdoor, landscaped courtyard. The building will house 125 beds for short-term hospitalization, an average stay of 15 days. It also will hold administrative offices and support services. The new hospital was designed by Booker Associates, St. Louis. It's being built by a joint venture of St. Louis-based McCarthy and M. Steele Enterprises.
ST. CHARLES, Mo.-SSM Health Care System has acquired St. Charles Clinic, a multispecialty clinic with 27 physicians and six offices in towns outside St. Louis. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. The physicians will work with the newly named St. Louis Health Care Network through its physician-services division. The network involves six St. Louis-area SSM hospitals as well as 424-bed DePaul Health Center and 316-bed St. Louis University Sciences Center. Hospitals in the network will share common management but keep their sponsorships (June 27, p. 40). SSM now operates practices with about 75 physicians in the St. Louis area.