Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers grilled staff from the Departments of Human Services and Administration about what they deemed the “botched” rollout of a new state benefits system Thursday afternoon.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State officials are responding to problems with the state’s brand new health and human services computer system. The multi-million dollar system has experienced technical problems that are affecting services and causing long wait times at field offices.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Here’s what’s happening in health care in Rhode Island.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

As of Tuesday there’s a new way of applying for state benefits like Medicaid and food stamps, or SNAP. It's an online application for all Department of Human Services benefits, all in one place - Rhode Island's biggest information technology project ever. But some advocates for the poor fear there won’t be enough support to help clients make the transition.

Kathleen Gorman

Hundreds of thousands of Rhode  Islanders receive state assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. The agency that helps connect them with those benefits - the Department of Human Services - is in the midst of a major reorganization. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

70 employees at the state Department of Human Services have received layoff notices because of a system-wide reorganization. It's part of a shift to online applications for benefits like food stamps.

The head of Rhode Island’s Medicaid program is stepping down from her post. That will be the second vacancy at a top state health position.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health officials say we’re spending too much on nursing homes. Instead, they say, we could be caring for people, for less money, at home.

Courtesy RI Department of Human Services

  Rhode Island’s new online portal for programs like Medicaid and food stamps is set to go live mid-September. The new system will streamline the process for people seeking services. It could also impact some DHS employees.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This September, Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services launches a new online portal for health and social service benefits. It’s the state’s biggest IT project ever. 


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 Neighborhood Health Plan President and CEO Peter Marino. Neighborhood Health is launching a new initiative aimed at streamlining the sometimes thorny process of navigating Medicaid and Medicare.

When to listen:

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

Rhode Island Dept. of Human Services

Rhode Islanders seeking medical or food stamp assistance will soon be able to complete their application online, all in one go.

Gilead Sciences

Rhode Island Medicaid is revisiting its policy for determining who receives pricey hepatitis C drugs. Current policy limits who gets treated and when, but those restrictions could be loosened.

Kristin Gourlay / ripr

  Hospitals could face another rate cut under the Medicaid budget proposed for this fiscal year. Tension over the cuts came up during a budget hearing this week.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The House Finance Committee begins budget hearings next week, and top of the agenda is Medicaid. One in four Rhode Islanders is enrolled in the health care program for the low income and disabled. The state spends more than a third of its budget on it. But a major effort has been underway to trim expenses and transform the way Medicaid delivers care.