"The beginning of the month is always extremely busy at the DHS field offices, because it's when benefits for most human services programs are delivered. This month, we expect HSRI's open enrollment to drive even higher than usual call volumes and foot traffic, which may lead to longer wait times for many of our clients.
"Time is valuable and in short supply for many of our DHS customers. And all Rhode Islanders deserve high-quality, efficient customer service every day of the month. That's why my team has worked hard to prepare for a busier November in our field offices and over the phones. At DHS, we've extended hours at the Woonsocket and Providence field offices, improved the management of our office lobbies to better serve our customers, and put an escalation team in place to help customers in urgent need get services as quickly as possible. And at HSRI, we've added staff, phone lines and hours at our Contact Center throughout open enrollment.
"The first week of October came with some challenges, as our new health and human services eligibility system completed its first payment cycle for many programs. My team has also worked hard to prepare for any additional issues that may come up this month. If issues emerge, contingency plans are in place to resolve them quickly.
"I appreciate Rhode Islanders' patience during this time, and am committed to holding my team accountable for improving the services we provide to all of our customers as we continue to implement this new system."
As always, Rhode Islanders in need of urgent medical attention should seek medical care.
Rhode Island's comprehensive, modern, digital health and human services eligibility system will improve customer service in the long term, ensure that the state is delivering the right services to the right people at the right time, and save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in just a few years by expanding protections against waste and fraud and more efficiently connecting people to services.