Your Weekly Briefing: Health In Rhode Island, Feb. 14

Feb 14, 2017

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

What’s happening in health in Rhode Island, Feb. 14

VALENTINE’S DAY: Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to be good to your heart. Stop smoking. Exercise. Eat healthy food. And surround yourself with people you love and who love you.

KIDS’ BUDGET: Kids Count has you covered on how the governor’s proposed 2017/2018 budget could impact children and families. Read their brief here:

RI FOUNDATION: The Rhode Island Foundation announced it awarded a record $45 million in grants last year. More than 1,600 nonprofit organizations working across eight broad sectors, including economic development, education and health care, received funding. The grants target eight key sectors: arts and culture, basic human needs, children and families, education, economic security, environment, health and housing. Among the health care related grants: Family Service of Rhode Island was awarded $44,942 to underwrite a pilot program teaming a pediatric behavioral health clinician with a pediatric community health care worker in order to better integrate behavioral and primary health care for children. Nearly $300,000 was awarded to food banks, homeless shelters and free clinics that provide services to needy Rhode Islanders.

HOSPITAL UPDATES: The state health department begins its formal review of several requests to upgrade and renovate hospitals in the state. Rhode Island Hospital wants to create a maternity unit; Women and Infants wants to renovate its delivery suites; Landmark Medical Center was to become a Level 3 trauma center, and more.

SUICIDE STUDY: A multidisciplinary team from Care New England’s Butler Hospital, Brown University and the University of Michigan has received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a five-year research study into more advanced screening for suicide risk. The study will rely on new smartphone technology, an app designed by the team at the University of Michigan, to record and analyze changes in speech patterns to identify how they relate to changes in suicide risk. Participants in the study will be recruited in a psychiatric inpatient setting, an important population given the elevated suicide rates in the weeks and months following hospital discharge. The study begins recruitment this month.

SICK DAYS: Rhode Island lawmakers introduced earned sick day legislation. It would allow thousands of workers who don’t already have paid sick leave to earn up to seven days a year, one hour for every 30 worked.

ACA REPEAL: State health officials testified before Rhode Island Senate lawmakers about the potential impacts of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Rhode Islanders. The officials from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Health, HealthSource RI, and the Office of the Health Commissioner told lawmakers that Rhode Island has much at stake when it comes to the ACA, which has funneled millions of dollars into the state to help people afford health insurance coverage and fund innovation. There’s no coordinated contingency plan if the act is repealed, they said, because there’s so much uncertainty about whether that will happen and how.

THUNDERMIST: The Board of Directors of Thundermist Health Center has appointed Jeanne LaChance, MBA, CPA as the Interim President & Chief Executive Officer. LaChance replaces Chuck Jones, who served as the Thundermist President & CEO for the past five years. LaChance joined Thundermist as its Chief Financial and Administrative Officer in 2013. Previously, she was at Westerly Hospital.