JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -Governor Parson announced on Wednesday that 30 million dollars of CARES Act funding will go towards the Missouri health care system to support health care workers and monoclonal antibody infusion sites.
This announcement comes just an hour after House Minority Leader Crystal Quade released a statement saying the amount of time for newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries to be entered into the system is unacceptable.
“Although the governor finally has acknowledged Medicaid expansion is the law of land, his administration appears intent on slow-walking implementation, saying it will take the Department of Social Services up to 60 days to enroll the newly eligible. This is not acceptable. Under the court order enforcing expansion, these Missourians are entitled to enroll in Medicaid right now, and we encourage them to do so. Medicaid expansion has prevailed both at the ballot box and in the courts. No more excuses. No more delays. The administration has a constitutional duty to do whatever it takes to enroll the expanded population immediately, ” says Quade.
Governor Parson directed the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to create and execute a plan to help relieve the strain on hospitals and their staff due to COVID-19.
“We’ve consistently heard from our health care partners that staffing is one of the biggest challenges we continue to face. Our health care workers have been on the frontlines since day one, and our goal is to provide continued support with this additional effort,” says Governor Parson.
The plan includes providing 15 million dollars dedicated to staffing all Missouri-licensed or CMS-certified critical access and long-term care hospitals.
Other state-run agencies will also participate, with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Department of Corrections, and the Missouri Department of Social Services Division of Youth Services receiving part of the funding to staff their facilities on a fixed-rate basis.
Another 15 million dollars will be committed to Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Centers. Five to eight infusion centers will be state-funded to operate for 30 days at strategic locations around the state.
The state estimates that up to 2,000 patients across Missouri can be treated at the infusion centers.
The Department of Health and Senior Services is working with a vendor that will support these efforts.
“DHSS stands ready and willing to take on this effort. Our health care system remains strong and focused on providing the best patient care possible. We believe this funding will provide relief in the system where it’s needed most,” says the Acting Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, Robert Knodell.
The Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team staffs the state-run Monoclonal Antibody Centralized Infusion Center in Springfield, with support from Jordan Valley Community Health Center and CoxHealth.
As of Tuesday, August 10th, the infusion center has treated 319 patients since its opening on July 23rd.