Medicaid

EOHHS

House lawmakers will vote next week on an $8.7 billion dollar state budget. More than a third of it pays for health care and other related services. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay joined host Dave Fallon in the studio to walk through some of the highlights. Listen to the audio or read a transcript of their conversation, below.

DAVE: Kristin, welcome. So a major centerpiece of the budget is Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan to quote “Reinvent Medicaid.” Recap for us what that’s about and tell us, did she get what she wanted?

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House lawmakers have voted to pass an $8.7 billion dollar budget that restores some proposed cuts and adds money for education and economic development.

House finance committee members voted to include many of Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposals to streamline Medicaid and spur business and job growth.  But the budget that now heads to the full House for a vote is $37 million dollars richer than her original ask, thanks to a rosier state revenue picture. House fiscal advisor Sharon Reynolds Ferland gave lawmakers the bottom line.

Rhode Island’s largest health care network will close six group homes by the end of August. Lifespan affiliate, Gateway Healthcare, blames reimbursement rates for the closures.

The closures will affect dozens of adults with substance abuse or mental health diagnoses, and a little more than a dozen kids in state care. They range in age from five to 18. Gateway says Medicaid doesn’t pay enough to cover the cost of their care. Executive office of health and human services secretary Elizabeth Roberts acknowledges that’s a challenge.

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, which manages thousands of the state’s Medicaid patients, has found a way to bring down health costs for some of its highest need patients. The organization’s chief medical officer Paco Trilla says the Health@Home program targeted about 450 patients with multiple chronic conditions. They were using a lot of medical services, but not getting better.                

On Tuesday, two Rhode Island House committees will take another close look at Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposed budgets for Medicaid and the state’s health and human services agency. The Senate heard similar proposals last week.

The hearings offer another opportunity for public testimony and committee members’ questions before the budgets hit the full House and Senate for consideration.

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