March 15, 2017

Around the nation: Md. lawmakers look to expand dental coverage

Daily Briefing
  • Arkansas: State lawmakers are looking for ways to establish a crisis center that accepts calls made to the national suicide prevention hotline. The Arkansas Crisis Center, which was the state's only participating hotline, stopped taking calls in April 2016 because of funding shortfalls—making Arkansas one of only two states that do not have an a nationally affiliated hotline. State Rep. Bob Johnson (D) has introduced a bill to authorize the Department of Health to operate an accredited, 24-hour call center to answer Arkansas residents' calls to the national hotline. And state Rep. Tim Lemons (R) has proposed a bill that would allocate $2.3 million for the Department of Human Services' Division of Behavior Health Services to take a more comprehensive approach to suicide prevention, including establishing a call center (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/13; Field, Arkansas Online/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/13).

  • Maryland: Lawmakers in Maryland held a hearing Tuesday to discuss a bipartisan measure that would authorize—although not require—the state's Medicaid program to include a dental option. Salliann Alborn, chair of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, said the state has fallen behind in offering dental benefits to adults on Medicaid. Currently, two-thirds of states have such programs, she said (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/13).

  • Missouri: Saint Francis Healthcare System President and CEO Steven Bjelich will retire in September. He has served as CEO and president of the system since 1999. Under his leadership, St. Francis launched several significant projects, including its 200-physician medical group, a clinical affiliation with Cleveland Clinic, and the only Level III neonatal intensive care unit in the region. Maryann Reese, the health system's current EVP and COO, will lead the system after Bjelich retires (Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/13).

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