Senate approves Pearson bill to address low reimbursement rates that have led to doctor shortage


STATE HOUSE — The Senate Tuesday approved legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) that would address the low reimbursement rates to primary care providers that has led to a severe shortage of physicians in the state.

In addition to defining “primary care services,” the bill (2024-S 2723) would require all biennial reports to the General Assembly on rate reimbursements to include a review and recommendation of rates for primary care services on and after Sept. 1, 2025.

“The rate review process that we use for many Medicaid services has been very successful in giving us a target when moving to increase those reimbursement rates,” said Senator Pearson. “This legislation would expand that to primary care services. This is an important step to ensuring that primary care is available to all Rhode Islanders, and also ensuring the financial stability of the system.”

The legislation is part of a 25-bill package aimed at improving health care access and affordability in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island HEALTH Initiative (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) focuses on four key pillars: consumer protection, provider availability and care quality, cost containment, and health system financial stability.

“We are very fortunate in the Senate to have a such a knowledgeable and dedicated membership committed to addressing the challenges facing our state,” said Senator Pearson. “When we approached the development of this package of bills, we wanted to take a holistic approach to addressing the many intertwined factors that impact the health care system.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.




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