2013 News Releases


Dr. Joe Parks named director of MO HealthNet Division, Gov. Nixon announces

Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Mental Health brings depth of experience in medicine and public policy to position of MO HealthNet Director

Jefferson City, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that Dr. Joe Parks, Chief Medical Officer for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, has been named director of the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, effective December 16.

“Dr. Parks’ nearly two decades of experience with public health will be beneficial in helping to ensure that Missouri’s Medicaid system is efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missourians,” Gov. Nixon said. “Deeply respected in the medical field and on both sides of the aisle, Dr. Parks’ leadership will be greatly appreciated in this vital role.”

“With more than 850,000 Missourians enrolled in Medicaid, the MO HealthNet Division impacts families in every community throughout the state,” said Brian Kinkade, acting Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. “Ensuring that this program continues to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations is critically important and we appreciate Dr. Parks bringing his expertise and insight to the furthering of this mission.”

“I have dedicated my career to helping Missourians live healthier, happier and more productive lives and I look forward to continuing this work as MO HealthNet Director,” said Dr. Joe Parks. “Whether it’s the children of working families who need a simple check-up, or seniors who need help managing their chronic medical conditions, the MO HealthNet program has an opportunity to improve the whole spectrum of public health in Missouri which will keep our state and our economy on solid ground moving forward.”

Dr. Parks practices psychiatry on an outpatient basis at Family Health Center, a community health center established to expand services to uninsured and underinsured patients in the Columbia area. He previously served as the Division Director for the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Parks will be stepping down from his positions as Director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and as President of the Medical Director’s Council of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

Dr. Parks received the American Psychiatric Association Bronze Achievement Award in 2006 for a program controlling pharmacy costs by improving prescribing practices.


Specialized mental health center opens in Kansas City to serve the
Deaf and Hard of Hearing community

[November 15, 2013, Jefferson City, MO] The Department of Mental Health and Truman Medical Center (TMC) announce the opening of a specialized outpatient center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) individuals on Friday, November 15, 2013. This is part of a state-wide mental health treatment program for D/HH individuals in need of outpatient services.

To provide improved services to the D/HH community, the staff at TMC has gone through extensive training on Deaf culture, American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf mental health services. The center recognizes the unique aspects of Deaf culture and provides a culturally affirmative and sensitive treatment environment that stresses the importance of ASL as the medium of communication. The center will offer comprehensive mental health services to individuals in Kansas City, in person, as well as offer therapy services statewide by Tele-health. The staff will also provide consultation to any state contracted agency serving Deaf individuals.

Jennifer McKinney, Deaf Services Therapist says: “At Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health, Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing individuals receive accessible and culturally-sensitive mental health care, whether it is individual therapy with a signing therapist, or case management and psychiatry services provided with sign language interpreters and by clinicians who have undergone training in working with deaf clients.”

For additional information about the center opening contact Jennifer McKinney at TMC at 816-527-8274.



Department of Mental Health’s Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital

Receives Recognition

For a Second Consecutive Year - Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital Earns "Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®" Recognition from The Joint Commission

[Jefferson City, November 15, 2013] For the second straight year Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital (HCPH) has been recognized by The Joint Commission (TJC) as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®.” TJC is the leading accrediting agency of hospitals and other health care organizations in America.

HCPH was recognized by TJC for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for inpatient psychiatric services. Hawthorn is one of only 1,099 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance during the 2012 calendar year.

Hawthorn is a Department of Mental Health state operated inpatient hospital for children with psychiatric disorders based in St. Louis.

“The Department of Mental Health is proud of the Hawthorn staff for earning this recognition two years in a row as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® from The Joint Commission,” said Dr. Keith Schafer, Director for the Department. “We are extremely proud of the work that Hawthorn does in serving some of Missouri’s most troubled children.”

Below is the direct link to the 2013 annual report: http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/TJC_Annual_Report_2013.pdf




Missouri’s public mental health system will face significant losses if House Bill 253 becomes law, an analysis by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) indicates. The analysis was performed at the direction of the Missouri Mental Health Commission because of concerns about the potential long-term impact of the legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon in June.

Estimates on the impact of HB 253 generally range from $700 million to $1.2 billion annually. For its analysis, DMH assumed an impact on state General Revenue (GR) of $700 million annually. To take its share of the loss, DMH would need to cut $87 million.  Since much of the Department GR funds are used as matching funds to draw federal appropriations, the actual loss toservices will total approximately $164 million.

The DMH serves about 170,000 Missourians each year that have serious mental illnesses, developmental disabilities or substance use disorders. 

“Over the past five years, the Department has had to significantly reduce its General Revenue spending for services. Additional loss of revenue will have a devastating impact on the people and communities we serve,” Department Director Keith Schafer said. “The Commission and I are very concerned.”

Program actions DMH would have to take if House Bill 253 became law include:

These and other actions represent a loss of 850 DMH positions.  Schafer said that in addition to the above reductions an equally troubling loss would be the inability to replace the severely aging, high-security, Fulton State Hospital campus, which serves the most severely mentally ill and dangerous patients committed by courts throughout the state.

Although there is a strong and broad commitment by legislative leaders and the Governor to rebuild Fulton State Hospital, the money the legislature appropriated for planning and design has been set aside in anticipation of the budgetary impacts of HB 253. 

Schafer said, “It’s hard to imagine a scenario in the next 10 years that would allow the rebuilding of Fulton State Hospital if House Bill 253 is enacted.” 

“These are very serious impacts that the Commission and I believe we must plan for.”  According to Schafer, even all the actions described, and others not detailed in this analysis, may not be enough to handle the Department’s share of the reductions triggered by HB 253.


Click here to read the full Analysis

The Impact of Strengthening Medicaid on Missouri's Mental Health System

Updated DMH Statement 4-15-13

Last week, President Obama released his 2014 budget proposal. The President’s budget includes proposed legislation to delay for one year the reduction in disproportionate share hospital(DSH) payments to hospitals that was scheduled to begin in Federal FiscalYear2014.

DMH’s recent report, “The Impact of Strengthening Medicaid on Missouri’s Mental Health System,” is still accurate.

If the proposed legislation passes, DSH payment reductions will still begin in 2015, and the reductions originally scheduled for 2014 would be spread over 2016 and FY 2017.

Therefore, DMH’s original projections that DSH payments to Missouri hospitals will be reduced, ultimately reaching about 50%, is accurate. Though the start is delayed one year the reduction is accelerated to achieve the original deadlines for both dollars and full implementation date, thus only delaying the initial impact by a year.

It is also significant that for each year Missouri does not expand eligibility for Medicaid to 138% of poverty it will lose one year of 100% federal funding of the expanded population, $62 million in state tax revenue from new jobs generated, and 90,000 Missourians in need of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities services will not have health insurance coverage.

Executive Summary

As the state’s public mental health authority, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) is responsible for overseeing, operating and funding much of the mental health system in Missouri. It is a complex system that requires close collaboration with community partners to maximize resources and provide effective treatment to some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Strengthening Medicaid by extending eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level, through federal funding available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has major implications for Missouri’s mental health system. This analysis compares the major changes that will occur in community mental health and psychiatric inpatient services if the state extends eligibility or if it maintains current eligibility levels.

Four community hospitals have participated in this analysis. They include CoxHealth-Springfield, SSM St. Joseph Health Center-St. Charles/Wentzville, Truman Medical Center-Lakewood and Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center-Kennett. They are typical of most hospitals in Missouri.

In summary, the major findings of the report are as follows:

Specific information on the impact of strengthening Medicaid as it relates to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) has been added and can be found at the end of the report in Addendum A. The below points provide a summary of the addendum:

Strengthening Medicaid in Missouri will enhance public safety and improve public health by providing earlier intervention for people developing serious mental illness and substance use disorders as well as cover working individuals with developmental disabilities. Not extending Medicaid eligibility will have a significant negative impact on Missouri’s mental health system, particularly on psychiatric inpatient services.

Click here to read the full report including Addendum A

Click here for the DMH Medicaid Impact Powerpoint Presentation

Click here to view a one page summary with graphics

Click here to read only Addendum A

Click here to read the Saint Louis University School of Law, Medicaid Expansion FAQs

2013 Mental Health Champions and Lasting Legacy Award

[Jefferson City, MO] - Three remarkable Missourians who have overcome mental health challenges to make life better for others and their communities have been chosen as 2013 Mental Health Champions by the Missouri Mental Health Foundation. The Champions are Ms. Bobette Figler of St. Louis, Mr. Tim Boyd of Nevada, and Mr. Garrett Lawrence of Hannibal.

They will be honored on May 21, 2013, at the Sixth Annual Mental Health Champions Banquet to be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. Reservations for the event as well as table sponsorships are available at Missouri Mental Health Foundation.

"These individuals exemplify courage and commitment and serve as an inspiration to others. They help provide motivation to thousands of Missourians facing the challenges of mental illness, addiction disorders and developmental disabilities," said Patty Henry, Executive Director of the Missouri Mental Health Foundation. Not only do these Champions demonstrate personal courage through their actions, they encourage others and strengthen their communities."

Bobette Figler has been in recovery from alcoholism for more than thirty years. Not long after she got sober, she began volunteering at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA), and many years later became employed there. Her volunteer work at NCADA lead her into a long-standing role of giving back to the community, effectively helping others, which is her on-going goal and purpose. She is incredibly effective in assessing and motivating people to address their addictions and move toward wellness. She has also become an active advocate and volunteer in local efforts, forums and agencies for those organizations providing help to those who suffer from MS and Myasthenia Gravis. She continues to serve as a volunteer and gives of her time to a variety of circumstances for recovery causes, consistently at the table or showing up for any and all recovery events.

Tim Boyd lives with bi-polar disorder, major depression and HIV. His new determination to begin his journey to recovery began in 2005, accelerating as he began volunteering at Nevada Regional Medical Center. He is the Auxiliary President, currently serving his third consecutive year in this capacity. Mr. Boyd is also a RESPECT speaker, passionate about telling his story so others can understand the importance of fighting stigma surrounding mental illness and other disabilities. In addition, he currently teaches others to share their stories as a RESPECT Institute Facilitator. Tim also works in a part-time position with “On My Own, Inc. (Center for Independent Living). He has naturally assumed the role of advocating for others who have a mental illness or disability. His self-worth is no longer based on things that are fleeting, but rather, what he can give back to others.

Garrett has always made an impact where he goes. These past few years, that impact has been felt in ever widening spheres. He has been a Jaycee since 2003, raising money for their annual fireworks display. He is also a member of POPS Club (Participants of Public Service), Aktion Club, and is president of the Board of NEILS; the area Independent Living Center. Currently, Garrett also works for DMH serving as one of the planners for the Real Voices-Real Choices Conference. He was in the first Project STIR class offered in the Hannibal area and is interested in mentoring high school students to learn more self-determination skills. He continues to take advantage of opportunities to develop his advocacy skills for those with developmental disabilities.

This year the Lasting Legacy Program Award will recognize the DM (Disease Management) 3700 Project. This award recognizes a mental health program that transforms the way Missourians are offered or receive services. It represents cutting-edge innovation and collaboration which gives help and hope to Missourians and their families. The DM 3700 Project saves lives and reduces costs by improving the quality of health care of high cost, high risk Medicaid recipients with serious mental illness and multiple medical conditions. The Department of Mental Health in collaboration with the Department of Social Services, Division of MO HealthNet, received the state’s Pinnacle Award for their work on the DM 3700 Project. The prestigious award was part of the 2012 Governor's Awards for Quality and Productivity (GAQP).

For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities for the 2013 Champions Banquet, please contact Patty Henry at MMHF@MissouriMHF.org. The Missouri Mental Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and public understanding of issues impacting individuals and families living with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictions disorders. Our efforts battle stigma and discrimination, facilitate treatment, and foster inclusion in the community and workforce.