Health Care

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

  Governor Gina Raimondo is trying to curb long wait times and system problems after the roll out of a new human services computer system.

Raimondo has directed Department of Human Services field offices to remain open longer two days a week to deal with long wait times.

She has also asked the consulting firm that helped build the new human services computer system, Deloitte, to send additional staff to help troubleshoot – at no additional cost.

Kristin Gourlay

Major health care systems Care New England in Rhode Island and Southcoast Health in Massachusetts say they will end their affiliation plans. The move comes after months of talks about joining forces to create one of the largest systems in the region. In a statement, officials from both organizations say they believe their vision for a combined system could no longer be achieved.  

Regulators in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island had already been reviewing legal documents filed in support of the affiliation. They have been notified of the organizations’ plans.

Adam Levine/Brown University / Watson Institute

Humanitarian crises are multiplying around the globe, but a Brown University researcher says we could be responding in a more rigorous way. Emergency medicine doctor Adam Levine will head the new Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at Brown’s Watson Institute. He says academic researchers need to partner with humanitarian aid providers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new sobering center opens next month at a homeless shelter in Providence. It’s a place where inebriated people who would typically be brought to the emergency room can safely sober up. It's meant to save money and guide those patients toward recovery.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Department of Human Services officials say they’re working with federal agencies to address concerns about the rocky roll out of a new computer system called UHIP. The system enrolls Rhode Islanders in programs like food stamps and Medicaid and replaces decades-old technology. But some Federal officials said it wasn’t ready to go live when it did.                         

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State officials have yet to comment on warnings from a federal agency that said Rhode Island’s Department of Human Services computer system wasn’t ready for prime time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted problems with the new system.

Rhode Island Department of Health

Blackstone Valley’s Community Health Center broke ground Saturday on a new Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls. The station is meant to serve patients as more than a health clinic.

Former Health Department Director Dr. Michael Fine is one of the driving forces behind the new Neighborhood Health Station. He says it’s a different model from a community health center.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

A new study finds mixed health results from CVS pharmacies’ decision to stop selling tobacco products. 

Harvard Professor Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Ph.D,  says when it’s easier to get tobacco in your neighborhood, more people smoke. So when CVS pharmacies stopped selling cigarettes, Tucker-Seeley wondered whether that might be good for all Rhode Islanders. He found that in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and a greater percentage of black and Latino residents, there just weren’t as many CVS pharmacies. But there were plenty of other tobacco retailers.

Brown University

Researchers from Brown University have found that even low levels of lead in children’s blood can lower future test scores. It’s one of the first studies to isolate lead as a cause, and not just a factor, in student achievement.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Rhode Island’s Department of Health has received confirmation of the first case of West Nile virus in the state this year. The mosquito-borne illness is rare but can be dangerous for some patients.

Kristin Gourlay

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha will hold a series of town hall meetings about the growing public health crisis of opioid addiction and overdose. The programs kick of today as part of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness week. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A series of hearings about the state of mental health care kicks off Thursday at the Statehouse. Lawmakers are concerned about gaps in the system.

Cranston Senator Josh Miller says he hopes to hold at least four hearings about mental health services in Rhode Island.

“And we hope to hear from providers and patients about the needs that aren’t being met, where those needs are, and what we can do either legislatively or departmentally to better meet some of those needs.”

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.