Testimony relating to H 7225 - Budget Article 9, Section 5

Last updated: March 07, 2024

Testimony relating to H 7225 - Budget Article 9, Section 5
Support for Medicaid Provider Reimbursement Rates
House Committee on Finance
February 28, 2024
Nina Harrison, Policy Director

The Economic Progress Institute strongly supports the governor’s proposal to increase Medicaid rates for early childhood intervention to 100% of the OHIC recommended increase. We also urge the Committee to do the same for all recommended rate increases in the OHIC Social and Human Services Programs Review Final Report, including EOHHS’ intent to extend these to managed care payments.

Rhode Islanders value the health and well being of our children. But for too long, low Medicaid reimbursment rates have resulted in insufficient wages for essential workers who provide much needed services for vulnerable children and families. These insufficient reimbursement rates cause harm on a number of fronts: they cause existing providers to struggle financially; cause other providers to leave the industry or even the state in search of higher wages; they have caused staffing crises across multiple sectors (including early intervention, elder care, and in-home services), and those staffing shortages have created delays and barriers for Rhode Islanders to access critical services. These delays can allow problems to compound and become more difficult and expensive to treat over time.

The low reimbusement rates are also an equity issue. As noted by the Commonwealth Fund, “Low reimbursement rates limit access to quality care and contribute to poor health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries, who are disproportionately people of color.” Additionally, staff recieving insufficient reimbusement rates/wages in sectors such as elder care and home health services are also disproportionately women and people of color. Increasing the reimbursement rates will increase equity and reduce health and wages disparities in RI.

The Economic Progress Institute strongly urges adoption of the full OHIC recommended increases, which are neccessary to stabilize industries, staffing, and critical services.

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