Your Weekly Briefing: Health In Rhode Island, 9/20

Sep 20, 2016

Safe injection supplies provided by ACOS' ENCORE Needle Exchange Program - including safe disposal containers.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Here's what's happening in health care in Rhode Island:

UNINSURED:

  • US Census Bureau figures show Rhode Island’s overall uninsured rate dropped by half between 2013 and 2015, down to about six percent. 
  • Children’s health coverage rates are still good in Rhode Island, according to Rhode Island Kids Count, but our national ranking has slipped because other states are catching up. 

NEEDLE EXCHANGE: The AIDS Care Ocean State needle exchange program, ENCORE, lost $65,000 in funding during the last budget session. That’s hampered the program’s ability to exchange clean needles for used among the state’s injection drug-using population. Sharing needles can expose users to dangerous infectious diseases like hepatitis C.

MENTAL HEALTH: Cranston Sen. Josh Miller kicked off the first of four hearings on the state of mental health care in Rhode Island last Thursday. The goals are to examine what’s working and where the gaps are for patients in need. Rhode Island is facing a shortage, in particular, of child psychiatrists.