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9/12/2023 Rep. Morales applauds OHIC’s Social and Human Service Programs Review Report, urges governor to adopt the report’s recommendations in FY25 budget proposal
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David Morales is applauding the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) for a report it issued last week recommending significant raises to reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers, and urging Gov. Daniel McKee to include the recommendations in his budget proposal for the 2025 fiscal year.

“I applaud Acting Commissioner Cory King and the OHIC team for conducting a thorough analysis of our state’s social and human services system, identifying urgent growth areas, and directly engaging with service providers to develop concrete recommendations to improve the quality of services that Medicaid recipients receive. Based on the report, it is clear that Rhode Island is in desperate need of increasing the reimbursement rates of our social service programs, especially within behavioral health, as many of these essential services and programs have not seen a change in rates in over 20 years,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “As a result, we are lagging behind our neighboring states and creating a disincentive for social and human service providers to support Medicaid recipients. This explains why we have so many vulnerable people across our communities who are unable to access the services and treatment they need, as the number of providers and their capacity is severely limited.”

He continued, “I strongly support OHIC’s recommendation to increase our state’s Medicaid fee-for-service expenditures by $45 million, especially when you consider the fact that due to federal Medicaid matching funds, for every additional dollar of state investment in Medicaid, the federal government will contribute more than a dollar of new funds! With Governor McKee’s FY25 state budget proposal being just a few months away, I urge the governor and his administration to incorporate OHIC’s recommendations for increased investments in our social and human services system. Together, we can ensure working people and families have access to the critical services they need.”

OHIC was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of all social and human service programs having a contract with or licensed by the state, inclusive of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and the state agencies under its purview. This comprehensive and unprecedented review was required by amendments to OHIC’s enabling statute, and included social services and services for mental health, developmental disability, child welfare, juvenile justice, prevention services, habilitative, rehabilitative, substance use disorder treatment, residential care, adult/adolescent day services, vocational, employment and training and aging.

In the report, which has been submitted to EOHHS for consideration, OHIC recommends significant adjustments to social and human service program reimbursement rates, particularly in the areas of behavioral health, children’s services, and home- and community-based services. OHIC estimates the recommended rate adjustments will generate an approximate fiscal impact of $45 million in additional Medicaid fee-for-service expenditures if fully implemented in the next fiscal year.

Representative Morales urges concerned community members to attend a public forum on the report hosted by OHIC on Friday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to noon in Conference Room 2A at the Department of Administration, 1 Capitol Hill, Providence. The meeting is to provide the general public, providers, recipients, and other interested parties an opportunity to provide comment and to ask questions.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923