health care

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The House Finance Committee passed the fiscal year 2017 budget late last night. It heads for a floor vote next week. As I continue to pore over the budget documents, here’s a preliminary look at some of the highlights of health-related spending and revenues in this version, as compared to Governor Gina Raimondo’s original proposals:

photo by Megan Hall

Consolidation is the name of the health care game right now – but is it good for patients?

Let's review what's in the works in our state right now:

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Rhode Island has taken a rare step to create a new college focused on health care. They're calling it the College of Health Sciences and say it will join together programs like physical therapy, sports science, gerontology and psychology.

The university plans to hire a new dean to lead the new College of Health Sciences,  which will join the colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing under the umbrella of an Academic Health Collaborative.

Kaiser Family Foundation

It's no surprise that politicians play fast and loose with the facts and terms that support their positions. But health care seems to get so jargon-y, so vague in the mouths of candidates it's laughable. So here are the results of my modest attempt to translate just a couple of the leading candidates' proposals into everyday language, with some possible consequences if implemented. In alphabetical order:

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave chat with Dr. Louis Rice, president of the University Medicine Foundation. The foundation has partnered with Bryant University to provide leadership training for doctors.   

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Westerly Hospital’s parent company, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, is pursuing an affiliation with a bigger organization: Yale New Haven Health System. The deal could bring in millions of dollars from Yale-New Haven.

Connecticut-based L&M acquired Westerly Hospital a little more than two years ago. And since then, consolidation and competition in the health care marketplace have only ramped up. Yale New Haven Health System is a bigger fish in this regional pond, with three hospitals and about $3.4 billion dollars in revenue.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

There’s an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose unfolding across Rhode Island right now, and Burrillville, a small town in the northwestern corner of the state has been particularly hard hit.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health officials kick off a series of public hearings Tuesday to learn about Rhode Islanders’ personal experiences with health care. It’s part of a government initiative to make health care better and less costly.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian will host the listening session at Buttonwoods Community Center. It’s the first of two sessions planned to let Rhode Islanders weigh in about their experiences using and paying for health care.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has asked a working group to come up with a way to slow health care spending in Rhode Island. It's a strategy that has showed promise in Massachusetts.

Raimondo signed an executive order to establish the Working Group for Health Care Innovation. The group’s charge is to propose a way to limit the growth in public and private health care spending. One model might be close to home. Raimondo says Massachusetts placed a cap on spending.

NPR's All Things Considered host Audie Cornish interviewed a prominent cancer doctor Monday about his public criticism of the high cost of cancer drugs.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Talking about dying is difficult for most people, including doctors. But can they learn a better way to help patients nearing the end of their lives? Can health care systems learn to respect those wishes? Here’s one experiment to find out.

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Dr. Kate Lally gathers a group of second year residents outside a patient’s room at Kent Hospital in Warwick. Lally explains the patient they’re about to examine is 34-year-old Melissa Smith. She has advanced ovarian cancer. Until now, she’s been in hospice care at home, keeping comfortable.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A group charged with finding nearly $180 million dollars in savings from Rhode Island’s Medicaid program begins the second phase of its work Monday.

Throughout March Governor Gina Raimondo’s Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid held town hall meetings across the state to gather public input. Now they must get down to the hard work of finding ways to save money. They have until the end of the month to deliver recommendations to the Governor.

Is Rhode Island spending more than other states caring for the elderly? Or not enough?

(See update, below, plus a reminder: the final Reinvent Medicaid public town hall meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 pm at the East Bay Family Health Center in Newport.)

That's a question that's come up for debate at the recent "Reinventing Medicaid" town hall meetings around the state, and in statements from groups with a stake in the outcome of Gov. Gina Raimondo's plans to trim nearly $180 million dollars in state (and federal) Medicaid spending.

Don Borman

  Gov. Gina Raimondo gave her first State of the State address last night, unveiling her first budget.

Explore the governor's budget online.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to deliver her first State of The State address tonight. The address will give Rhode Islanders their first look at the governor’s spending priorities for the coming fiscal year.

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