2014 – S 2877

Enacted 05/08/14

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N


Introduced By: Senators Miller, Sosnowski, Nesselbush, Ottiano, and Cool Rumsey

Date Introduced: April 09, 2014


WHEREAS, Over the past two decades, Rhode Island has made strides in increasing access to healthcare for medical conditions. The Ocean State is recognized nationwide as a leader for its medical healthcare system, especially for children; and

WHEREAS, Like many other states, Rhode Island confronts challenges when it comes to ensuring that everyone who needs help for mental health and substance use disorders has access to behavioral health services. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), behavioral health services fail to reach as many as 60 percent of those individuals in need. The costs associated with this gap are substantial and affect the public at large, as well; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island, with no local health departments and limited community advocacy for behavioral and environmental programs, and with a population of which 20 to 25 percent have no regular source of health care, is confronted by additional challenges in providing integrated and comprehensive primary care so as to best improve population health outcomes for all; and

WHEREAS, Recognizing the need to strengthen the state’s healthcare system to assure that all Rhode Islanders lead healthy, fulfilling lives, the General Assembly in 2013 passed S834A and H6288, legislation that established the Special Joint Commission to Study the Integration of Primary Care and Behavioral Health in Rhode Island. The commission's purpose was to "make a comprehensive study of the current status of primary care and behavioral health in Rhode Island; of the available research, data and analyses of the impact of primary care and behavioral health service availability and delivery system architecture on population outcomes; and of the advisability of creating a Primary Care Trust or other mechanism to fund and otherwise support a comprehensive integrated primary care and behavioral health system for all Rhode Islanders"; and

WHEREAS, The legislators, medical and behavioral healthcare providers and practitioners, and insurers who served on the Joint Commission heard expert testimony and reviewed best practices nationally that pointed to the benefits associated with an integrated approach to primary care and behavioral health, and with a primary care delivery system configured to care for the whole population in its service area. The commission members agreed that there is untapped potential in Rhode Island to explore how integrating behavioral health and primary care might improve population-based health outcomes, and recommended that a robust legislative pilot for an integrated, multi-disciplinary primary care, behavioral care and neighborhood-based health promotion and delivery model be created; and

WHEREAS, It is critical that a plan for a successful approach to integrated care include the contributions of the key stakeholders that would be involved in implementing and supporting a changed system of healthcare delivery and payment in the state; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby respectfully requests that the Department of Health work with key stakeholders in the state to develop a plan for an integrated primary care, behavioral care, and health promotion pilot program at one or more geographic locations; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby respectfully requests that the proposed plan reflect data produced by and for the Health Care Planning and Accountability Advisory Council, to identify the state’s existing primary and behavioral health care capacities and to target unmet needs regarding all forms of primary and behavioral health care population outcomes. The plan should be consistent with the Joint Commission’s recommendation that it take place in a specific geographic location, feature a payment approach that emphasizes value as opposed to volume to assess the impact of interventions aimed at population-based health outcomes, and be of a scale to generate sufficient data and other information regarding population outcomes and other impacts that can support policy decisions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby respectfully requests that the Department of Health present a written plan for a pilot program to the General Assembly on or before November 1, 2014; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Director of the Department of Health and the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.