PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today appointed a diverse group of health care professionals, patient advocates, businesspeople and other policy leaders to address the structural challenges facing Rhode Island's Medicaid system. Rhode Island has the opportunity to deliver better health care services to Rhode Islanders, and to make our system more affordable at the same time.
"Reinventing Medicaid and encouraging a healthier community is an essential part of igniting Rhode Island's comeback," Raimondo said. "I am committed to fostering innovation and improving Medicaid so vulnerable Rhode Islanders receive the best care at lower costs. I thank the members of the Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid for their time and expertise."
"We have a responsibility to provide every Rhode Islander with access to high quality care that is affordable and sustainable. That means reinventing our Medicaid system to focus on keeping people healthy and providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time, especially for our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities," Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts said. "We must address inefficiencies in Medicaid this year and make significant structural changes that control costs in the long term. I am excited to hear from patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses and other health leaders, advocates and businesspeople throughout the Working Group's public process."
"By bringing together this diverse group of leaders from across Rhode Island, Governor Raimondo is showing true leadership when it comes to reinventing our Medicaid system," said Helena Foulkes, executive vice president, CVS Health and President, CVS/pharmacy. "This is a creative approach and I am optimistic we will be successful as we all come together to make our state stronger."
Despite Medicaid eligibility rates in line with the national average and neighboring states, Rhode Island spends more than 30 cents of every state dollar on Medicaid and has the nation's second highest cost per enrollee.
Ira Wilson, MD, MSc, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Services, Policy & Practice at Brown University, and Dennis Keefe, Chair of the Board of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, will co-chair the non-voting Working Group, which will hold a series of public meetings and town halls over the next three months and will be supported by Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts and department directors and staff from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).
"Governor Raimondo has convened an impressive Working Group and I look forward to partnering with them to reinvent how we deliver care," Dennis Keefe said. "The Governor and Secretary uniquely understand the challenges we face in Rhode Island to make quality care for the most vulnerable residents more affordable for everyone."
"This is an important time to take a new, innovative approach to reinvent Medicaid, improve care and save Rhode Islanders money," Ira Wilson said. "I applaud Governor Raimondo for bringing this diverse group of leaders, advocates and policy experts together to find a sustainable solution for the state's Medicaid system."
According to the Executive Order signed by Raimondo, the Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid will develop a plan to improve the quality of care Rhode Islanders receive and reduce the costs for Rhode Island taxpayers. The Working Group's efforts will focus on three goals: eliminating waste, fraud and abuse; improving quality, affordability and efficiency; and making Rhode Island a leader in health innovation.
The Working Group will host its first working meeting on Monday, March 2 in the Warwick offices of HP, 301 Metro Center Boulevard, Warwick, RI - second floor conference room. The first in a series of regional town hall meetings is scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 6pm at the Woonsocket Public Library, 303 Clinton Street, Woonsocket, RI. The Working Group will present a final report to Governor Raimondo and Secretary Roberts with budgetary recommendations for the 2016 fiscal year on or about April 30, 2015.