What’s Happening Report: October 28, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about resources.

I spoke with the director of Medicaid last week about some ongoing concerns I have had about the way that program works. One concern I have is how long it takes them to process applications. That has improved over the past months, and they told me they have been diverting resources to reducing the processing time, along with other measures they are taking to make the application process easier in the future.

While I am glad they are devoting more resources to this, I am concerned about their need to divert resources. Despite what you may hear, we have a very lean government. We have the lowest paid state workers in the nation, and we have been cutting corporate taxes over the past several years to make government more “efficient.”

But it is possible to get government so “efficient” that it can’t function. When an important department is diverting resources to handle vital services, that leaves the question, what are they diverting resources from? Is another function going to be lacking because it has fewer resources? And if not, why did they have the resources they had to begin with?

This is not just a problem with Medicaid. We underfund school transportation and have a number of districts on 4-day school weeks. We underfund roads and will be diverting general revenue away from education and Medicaid to pay for road and bridge repair.

Our auditor recently released a report that Missouri is not prepared for an economic downturn. We have been trimming budgets without saving money, and we will be feeling that pinch soon.
Each year, the Governor’s Council on Disability distributes a Legislative Priorities Poll to assist in understanding issues important to Missourians with disabilities and those who work and live with them.Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QNRSVQ2. It is open until November 7. I look at the results of the survey every year!
Maternal/NeonatalLevels of Care
In 2017, the Legislature passed 192.380 RSMo, which requires hospitals to report on the level of care they offer for childbirth. It has been some effort to get the Department of Health and Senior Services to report this information publicly, and I recently sent a letter to the Department requesting they make this information available on their website.

I have both the maternal and neonatal levels of care. The maternal levels of care designation specifies the resources they have available for women in childbirth, and the neonatal levels of care specifies the resources they have available to newborns.

This is not specifically a quality designation, but it does help parents compare hospitals to ensure a hospital has the resources available for a complicated pregnancy or childbirth. It is important to know that not all hospitals have the services available that a premature infant might need, for example, and to ensure that your family goes to a hospital with the resources you need.

The rankings are from I-IV, with IV being the best equipped to handle the most complex medical situation.
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with proper documentationYou can go to the DMV and request a replacement for your current license with the Real ID for a $5 processing fee. If you renew your license at the time of the request you will be charged the renewal fee. You need a RealID compliant Identification Card to board an airplane and enter federal buildings; Missouri issued Identification Cards (including drivers’ licenses) will be accepted in lieu of RealID until October 1, 2020. For more information about RealID, go to dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-information/.
The Census is Coming!
The US Constitution requires the federal government to take a count of people living in the United States every 10 years — and 2020 is it! Everyone means everyone — adults and children, citizens and noncitizens. The data collected from the census will be used, among other things, to reapportion legislative districts.

Census takers have begun visiting areas that have experienced a lot of change and growth to ensure that the Census Bureau’s address list is up to date. This is called address canvassing, and it helps to ensure that everyone receives an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

The Census is hiringApply here.

Watch this space for more information on the 2020 Census!
Capitol Construction
The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. Many streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. The Capitol Dome is also closed. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Even though I will not be in Jefferson City regularly, you are welcome to stop by my office if you are there. If you have an issue to talk with me about, it is best to make an appointment through my assistant, Nancy, at 573-751-1285.

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job!
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!
SarahRepresentative Sarah Unsicker91st District