Your Weekly Briefing: Health In Rhode Island, Feb. 7

Feb 7, 2017

A Narcan kit
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

What’s happening in health care in Rhode Island, Feb. 7:

ACA: A joint senate committee holds a hearing Tuesday night about the potential impacts of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on a range of health care issues in Rhode Island. The secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services is scheduled to testify about potential impacts on Medicaid. The director of the Department of Health is slated to talk about impacts on public health. And the head of HealthSource RI will preview the impacts on Rhode Island’s health insurance marketplace. Also on the agenda, the state’s health insurance commissioner. President Donald Trump has made repealing the law a top priority. That’s made for lots of uncertainty among states and health care officials, especially in states that expanded Medicaid. The money used to expand Medicaid could be at stake in a repeal. There have been recent reports in several media outlets, however, that neither Trump nor Congress will be ready with a replacement plan this year.

SICK DAYS: Members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals and Teamsters Local 251 are protesting changes Lifespan has made to its sick policy. UNAP represents more than 2,200 nurses, therapists, technologists and other allied health professionals at Rhode Island Hospital. In a statement the union says Lifespan’s policy could hurt employees who need to take sick days.

UHIP: The Dept. of Human Services has submitted its corrective action plan to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service. The FNS requested the plan after the rocky rollout of the state’s new online human services benefits program, UHIP, caused many Rhode Islanders to wait for or lose benefits, and many vendors, such as nursing homes, to wait weeks for payment. The plan includes details for how DHS plans to train employees, fix backlogs, and address glitches.

NARCAN: North Providence and East Providence Police Departments are helping other municipal police departments stock up with Narcan, or naloxone, the overdose rescue medication. The Departments first offered to purchase naloxone for the police departments in 10 cities and towns that were not equipping their officers with naloxone. Seven police departments (Johnston, Lincoln, Narragansett, East Greenwich, New Shoreham, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket), along with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM)’s Division of Enforcement, have since accepted the offer. Funding from North Providence and East Providence for naloxone is coming from settlement money awarded to the cities by Google after a 2011 investigation into its advertising practices.