It’s time for H7180/S2311 Rate Review to pass. The system is badly broken and Rhode Island residents deserve better! Can you live on what you were paid 15 or 20 years ago? We are!
While the state has taken important steps over the past several years to expand eligibility for the Medicaid program and to increase covered services, the rate of reimbursement for the provision of care has remained flat. This underpayment has had and continues to have a ripple effect across the entire behavioral health care system of care.
Low reimbursement rates do not meet providers’ operational expenses, allow providers to compete in the labor market, and serves as a decisive factor as to whether a provider will accept Medicaid recipients. There are disparities between physical health and behavioral health with reimbursement rates. Maintaining rates at adequate levels is crucial to continuing to have a sufficient pool of providers and ensuring network adequacy.
The overall impact is catastrophic to providers who have had to sell property to make payroll or pay their employees on a Thursday with a note stating please do not cash until the following Tuesday. Imagine getting that note with your paycheck especially if your family is living paycheck to paycheck.
High turnover rate among frontline staff, loss of benefits and income with pay cuts, the list goes on and our providers can’t keep going at this pace. A year from now we may see less providers than we have today. There is limited access to care today. Now imagine if we lose a few more providers, the emergency rooms will be jammed packed more than they are today.
The system needs to be redesigned to meet the needs of the population it serves. H7180 and S2311 provides the opportunity to gather the necessary information on which informed decisions can be made regarding reimbursement rates. We need change now before the system completely collapses.
John J. Tassoni Jr.