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7/7/2022 Sen. DiPalma and Rep. Casimiro’s human services rate review legislation included in budget
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Louis P. DiPalma and Rep. Julie A. Casimiro’s legislation that provides for periodic rate review/setting processes to ensure accurate and adequate reimbursement of social, human and clinical services was included in the recently approved FY 2023 state budget.

“Years of stagnation in our state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates have negatively affected hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders who rely on a wide range of services. A comprehensive approach is needed to address this situation, and that’s what this budget item requires. It will ensure that going forward, we conduct formal and regular rate reviews to prevent us from reaching this point again. The reviews will ensure we are investing in the care of Rhode Islanders – and, in turn, that we are investing in our health and human services economy. For our providers, the people they serve, and the future of our state, this budget item is incredible news and I thank the members of the General Assembly for their support,” said Senator DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton).

“Our healthcare system is suffering a crisis of care that’s only worsened due to the pandemic.  Our system is understaffed and under-supported and it is hurting our most vulnerable residents.  Our reimbursement rates have remained too-low and unchanged for many years, some decades, and the residents of our state cannot access the crucial services they need if there is no one there to provide the care. We have to stop the exodus of human services workers in our state and I believe this is possible with the proper oversight of the rate review/setting process and appropriate reimbursement rate increases that accurately reflect the high-level of care and dedication that our employees provide to our residents.  Thankfully, this budget item will do just that, providing the investment and care that both our patients and employees deserve,” said Representative Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter).

The budget item instructs the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive review of all social and human service programs in the Departments of Human Services, Children, Youth and Families, Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, Health, and the Medicaid program.   

By January 1, 2023, the report will include rates currently being paid, the date of the last increase and an assessment of eligibility standards and processes for all mandatory and discretionary programs.

By January 1, 2023, the report will include utilization trends, structure of state government as it relates to the provision of services including eligibility and function of the provider network and accountability standards for services.

By April 1, 2023, the report will include all professional licenses and unlicensed personnel requirements for established rates, any waiting lists and the length of time on the lists, national and regional reporting for comparison of state Medicaid rates and rates paid by private insurers and private pay for similar programs both nationally and regionally.

This process will start on October 1, 2023 and take place every two years after that. The budget includes $1.5 million from general revenues for the Office to hire outside contractors to assist with the review. Each department will include the components of the assessment and review, including the recommended rates, with the annual budget submission after the report is complete.

The budget item originally began as legislation introduced by Senator DiPalma, who serves as First Vice Chairman on the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Casimiro.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903