© 2024 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State Senate panel hears from health care professionals on issue of Medicaid

Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate interim committee looking into the state's Medicaid system heard from several doctors and other health care providers Wednesday at a hearing in Jefferson City.  

Among those testifying was Thomas Hale, M.D., a St. Louis-based physician working with Sisters of Mercy.  He told the panel that Medicaid needs to be expanded to make up for the pending loss of federal reimbursements to hospitals, known as DSH payments ("dish").

"If we can't increase the Medicaid rolls and those that have insurance, then the DSH payments will be a significant negative impact on all the hospitals in the state, and certainly with the Sisters of Mercy," Hale said.  "We are at tremendous risk financially…on the other hand, it is our responsibility to change our cost structure so we can adapt to the payments as they are, and if we keep people out of hospitals, if we don't feed the beast (and instead) grow the village, then that won't be as big an issue."

Others testified that Medicaid needs to be reformed first before any expansion is considered.  Jeffrey Kerr, M.D., is a family practice and emergency services physician in Houston, Missouri.  He told the panel that Missouri's Medicaid system is being defrauded by people using their services to engage in doctor shopping to gain access to controlled substances.

"A lady who was (recently) in our ER had 15 providers that she (has seen) in this past year to get multiple narcotic prescriptions, and they're filled at taxpayer's expense," Kerr said.  "When I talk to MO HealthNet about that, they say 'darn the legislature, because they don't give us the money to monitor the system.'"

The Republican-led General Assembly refused to grant Democratic Governor Jay Nixon's call to expand Medicaid during the 2013 regular session.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2013 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.
Related Content