Department of Behavioral Health Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Here’s what’s happening in health care in Rhode Island.

The head of Rhode Island’s Medicaid program is stepping down from her post. That will be the second vacancy at a top state health position.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Maria Montanaro, head of the state’s behavioral health agency, is stepping down at the end of this month. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Montanaro’s resignation today; no reason was given.

Current Deputy Director Rebecca Boss has been tapped to serve as acting director of the department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals while the agency looks for new leadership.

Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Montanaro to lead the behavioral health agency 18 months ago.

State officials have closed a group home for developmentally disabled adults after “multiple reports of suspected abuse” of residents. A resident died at the facility in February.

The state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals has ordered the closure of the College Park Apartments in Providence. Officials say the agency has reviewed several incidents at the facility, which houses adults with disabilities. They have referred the matter to state police and the state’s attorney general.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The State-run Eleanor Slater Hospital will be overseen by a team of health care management consultants while state officials work to fix numerous problems. A recent report cited numerous patient safety concerns and financial problems at the facility.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

When Maria Montanaro took the reins of the state department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, she inherited an agency with massive responsibilities, and major challenges. Among them, mounting costs and allegations of abuse at Eleanor Slater Hospital – the state psychiatric and long-term care facility for people with serious illnesses.

Recently appointed director of the state’s behavioral health agency Maria Montanaro says Eleanor Slater Hospital is facing serious problems. She told members of the House finance committee this week that the state-run hospital is costing more than it should, particularly in personnel.

“The recent study we completed shows our overtime hovers at 11 percent," said Montanaro, "while a private hospital system would expect overtime at two to three percent of its personnel hours.”

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.

State health workers are in demand. A job fair Thursday, sponsored by the state’s Department of Labor and Training and department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, advertised 50 open positions.