nursing homes

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

I wish I could be in two places at once. This Friday, two health policy-related conferences take place simultaneously in Warwick. Here's a bit more about each, and why the issues they're covering matter to Rhode Islanders.

file/CVS Health

Woonsocket-based CVS Health has agreed to acquire a provider of nursing home pharmacy services. The acquisition of Omnicare expands a growing line of business for the pharmacy giant.

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 to Virginia Burke, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Healthcare Association, which represents nursing homes. The group has questioned a plan to cut millions of dollars in state Medicaid spending.

Burke tells Mark and Dave that cuts to Medicaid would likely lead to layoffs for nursing home staff, which could degrade the quality of patient care.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Today is the due date for a plan to cut nearly $180 million dollars from Medicaid. Half of that is state funding, the other matching federal dollars. To close a burgeoning state budget gap, Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed cutting hospital and nursing home payments. Her “Reinvent Medicaid” task force delivers its recommendations today for finding the rest of the savings in the state’s health insurance program for the poor. Their proposals are aimed at reducing the cost of caring for some of the most complex patients.

Patients like Juana Kollie.

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s new budget proposes cutting millions of dollars in payments to hospitals and nursing homes. While their bottom lines have been improving, hospital officials say the cuts could hurt that recovery.

I'm combing through a Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office summary of Governor Lincoln Chafee's FY 2015 budget proposal - a handy document that summarizes the item in question and analyzes its potential impacts. In health care, there's lots to digest.

But here are a few items that have caught my eye so far. And keep in mind, these are all still up for debate.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has proposed $43 million in cuts to the state's Medicaid program. That's the program that provides health insurance for the poor and disabled. And it's recently been expanded under Obamacare.

And while Chafee's budget wouldn't cut services for Medicaid recipients, it would have an impact on how much health care providers are paid to care for Medicaid patients. To learn more, Rhode Island Public Radio's health care reporter Kristin Gourlay sat down with Virginia Burke, head of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, whose members are mainly nursing homes.

Rhode Islanders who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid - the so-called "dual eligibles" - take note: you're being enrolled in a new health plan designed to coordinate your primary care and long term care needs a bit better. It's called the Integrated Care Initiative, it could affect nearly 28,000 Rhode Islanders, and it's not without controversy.

But first, what's it about?

URI Student Rooms with Nursing Home Resident

Mar 18, 2013

A University of Rhode Island pharmacy student has just completed an unusual experiment. Twenty-four year old Emily Anastasia spent a week living in a retirement center, South Bay Retirement Living in South Kingstown,  where her roommate was a 92 year old woman.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin wants to institute a national background check for nursing home workers. Federal grant money – and some extra costs for nursing homes – are at stake.

There are a few new tools out there for comparing and researching health care options in Rhode Island. I don’t recommend basing your decision solely on one of these web tools. I do recommend digging deeper and getting behind the rankings. But I think they might be a helpful starting place for some, especially if you’re looking for care for a loved one.