Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union has reached a new contract deal. The three-year labor agreement with Rhode Island Hospital affects some 2000 union nurses and technicians.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR


As school gets underway across Rhode Island, thousands of kids will sign up to play sports. And with that comes the risk of concussion. 

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave speak with Ted Almon, president and CEO of The Claflin Company, a distributor of medical and surgical products. Almond is also a member of Governor Gina Raimondo's working group tasked with finding ways to reduce healthcare spending.

Rhode Island’s largest health care network will close six group homes by the end of August. Lifespan affiliate, Gateway Healthcare, blames reimbursement rates for the closures.

The closures will affect dozens of adults with substance abuse or mental health diagnoses, and a little more than a dozen kids in state care. They range in age from five to 18. Gateway says Medicaid doesn’t pay enough to cover the cost of their care. Executive office of health and human services secretary Elizabeth Roberts acknowledges that’s a challenge.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Dr. Anne DeGroot, co-founder of Clinica Esperanza, a free clinic providing health care to uninsured Rhode Island residents.

When to listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Bonus Q+A to talk about efforts to cut healthcare spending, whether nonprofit healthcare CEOs are paid too much, and other topics.

Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers will consider legislation today that would up the legal age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products. Rhode Islanders can currently start buying cigarettes at age 18. 

The new legislation would bar people under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes, or any other tobacco related products.  That includes cigars, chewing tobacco, and the increasingly popular e-cigarettes.

The House Committee on health, education and welfare is taking up the bill.

More than 75 Rhode Islanders packed a small meeting room at the Peacedale Public Library Monday, to share their suggestions for improving Medicaid while cutting costs. It was one in a series of town hall meetings held by the task force charged with finding $90 million dollars in savings in the program. Nurse Patricia Mackie told organizers how meeting a client’s basic needs first can help prevent expensive hospital stays.

“Cash to pay for prescriptions, clothing, furniture from the furniture bank, finding him an apartment.”

Researchers are launching a new clinical trial for treatments that could prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The trial is one of many Alzheimer's-related projects underway in the Ocean State.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is asking a group of healthcare leaders to tackle the cost of Medicaid. The program provides healthcare for poor and elderly Rhode Islanders.

The per-patient cost for Medicaid in Rhode Island is the second highest in the nation, and the rising price tag is eating up too much of the state budget. That was the message from Governor Gina Raimondo, as she signed an executive order to create a working group on Medicaid.

Raimondo said if the state doesn’t address the issue, the consequences could be dire.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Islanders go to the polls in less than a week. Their choices, the state’s new leaders, will have to contend with the state’s budget shortfall. A huge chunk of that budget goes to health care.  

So, as part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay asks some of the state’s top health care stakeholders what steps those newly elected leaders can take to help.


A union representing thousands of nurses in Rhode Island released the results of a member survey about hospital preparedness on Monday. About 360 members responded. And the union says half said they hadn’t received any formal communications about Ebola preparations from their hospitals. 92 percent said they weren’t sure whether they had – or didn’t have - the proper equipment to protect themselves. But hospitals say they’re doing all they can to keep workers safe. 

Rhode Island Nurses Prep For Ebola

Oct 16, 2014

The transmission of Ebola to two Texas nurses has raised concern among health care workers nationwide. And there are concerns as well in Rhode Island.

Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Nurses Association, Donna Policastro, says Rhode Island nurses are worried but well prepared for a potential Ebola outbreak. Policastro says the situation in Dallas has given nurses and hospital officials more reason to plan than panic.

Rhode Island health officials are waiting to find out if enterovirus D68 has hit the Ocean State. The virus has been confirmed in 18 states so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Health officials in Connecticut confirmed the first case there earlier this week.

That’s the closest state to Rhode Island to have any confirmed cases of the virus, though the Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s seen increases in respiratory problems in emergency rooms across the state.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In the first 9 weeks of this year, 55 Rhode Islanders have died from apparent drug overdoses. Overdose has been the number one cause of accidental death in Rhode Island since 2008, but the problem has been drawing more attention in recent days because of the surprising number of deaths this year alone. Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay has been at work on a documentary about drug overdose and addiction since well before the flood of recent headlines.