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Memo sparks questions over Medicaid reform

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A state agency memo is causing some to question who will decide how to restructure Missouri's Medicaid system.

The legislature formed a commission last spring to hold public hearings and return with recommendations for changes.

But Gary Sherman, director of the Department of Social Services, said in a memo to agency employees that DSS is simultaneously working with the executive branch to "craft a detailed blueprint" for the redesign of Medicaid.

Senator Rita Heard Days, a member of the Medicaid Reform Commission, says that's a surprise to her.

"If this is what we're coming to then we need to just stop the process right now and let the executive branch write the proposal, write the recommendations and pass future legislation, Days said.

But Social Services Spokeswoman Deborah Scott says the agency is working to better the healthcare program while keeping the commission's findings in view.

"It is both looking at making current improvements and thinking alongside the commission with how to put the meat on the bones of what the commission is getting ready to do, she said.

The commission will hold more public hearings through early November and is expected to make its recommendations before January.

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