Health Care

The federal government is pushing back the launch of an online health insurance marketplace for small businesses that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. But there will be no delay in Rhode Island.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

How many hospital beds does Rhode Island really need?

That’s one question being considered in a new report from a state health care planning council. It comes at a time when a number of hospitals in the state are either up for sale, looking at new partnerships or struggling financially.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joined Elisabeth Harrison in the studio to talk about the health of the state’s hospitals and some of the surprising findings from this report.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General and Department of Health officials say they’re suspending their review of Prime Healthcare’s application to buy the Woonsocket-based Landmark Medical Center.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Lifespan Hospital system’s growing research complex in Providence’s Jewelry District will benefit from a large National Institutes of Health grant to open new labs and fund new projects. Some of that research could translate into new treatments for Rhode Island patients.

Rhode Island Hospital has added another major research center to its portfolio. The new center will focus on stem cell biology.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island authorities have until the end of April to make a decision about whether to allow the sale of Westerly Hospital to Connecticut-based Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, but on Wednesday members of the Westerly community will have the chance to comment on the proposed sale.

The Department of Health and the attorney general’s office have final say on the deal, but Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says public input helps to inform the decision.

Medical School / Tufts University

Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital have opened what they say are the state’s first emergency rooms designed to take better care of the elderly.

Hospital officials say it’s taken a year to renovate and retrofit both emergency rooms so that the physical environments are safer and more welcoming for seniors. Think non-skid floors, large print hospital forms, and portable devices to help the hard of hearing.

US Navy

Rhode Island could do with the equivalent of one fewer hospital. That’s the conclusion of a draft report meant to guide the state’s health care planning.

URI Grant Winner Hopes to Spread Vaccine Awareness

Mar 25, 2013
Steven Depolo / flickr

A professor of pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island has just received a grant from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer; the grant will be used to boost the rate of pneumonia vaccines in the state.

According Dr. Kerry LaPlante there has been a rise in cases of invasive pneumonia in RI, reaching 11.9 percent of the population, about 3 points higher than the national average.

LaPlante and her team plan to use the $700,00 grant to increase awareness and availability of the vaccine to those most at risk.

The state’s largest hospital system is facing some unanticipated budget shortfalls. Lifespan isn’t saying yet whether the fix will include layoffs.

Lifespan released a statement saying it had asked employees and physicians to review their budgets and look for ways to trim expenses. No word yet on what immediate steps the organization might take to stem the financial losses - but Lifespan says they won’t compromise patient care and that they’ll "work hard to minimize the impact on...employees."

CharterCARE, the umbrella organization for Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals, has announced its intent to partner with Prospect Medical Holdings, a for-profit health care firm based in California. The deal is in its infancy. But it's the fourth proposed hospital merger/acquisition under Rhode Islands Hospital Conversions Act. And it's yet another sign of the shaky financial ground on which many of the state's hospitals now find themselves.

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

Governor Lincoln Chafee has released a new report on Medicaid fraud. Lawmakers and citizen groups had been pressuring Chafee to make the report public.

And, after declining for fear of jeopardizing fraud investigations, Chafee finally released the report, along with several proposed anti-fraud bills and a timeline of his administration’s efforts over the past few years to crack down on corruption.  

These are the average costs, over time, of some long-term care options in Rhode Island.

Note that the assisted living figure is monthly ($3528 in 2012), the nursing home rate is daily ($265 in 2012), and the home health aide figure is hourly ($24 in 2012).  That means that if you or a loved one needed 365 days of nursing home care, for example, the cost would be about $97,000 for the year. If you needed about 20 hours of help a week from a home health aide every day of the year, that would work out to about $25,000.

Brown University

Will we have enough geriatric specialists to take care of Rhode Island's aging population?

In less than 20 years, a quarter of the state’s population will be older than 60. In a series we call “The Silver Boom: Aging in Rhode Island,” we’re looking this week at how the state will take care of this expanding older population, and how the state benefits from these older residents.