South County Health Urges Community Support for RI Healthcare Stabilization Legislation

Kevin Charpentier, MD, Chief Medical Officer, South County Health, testifying in support of the Bill for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722.

In the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, where financial viability and sustainability remain elusive, the quiet champions of nonprofit health systems stand as beacons of community service. Small nonprofit health systems wield profound influence, not merely through their provision of medical services, but through their formidable advocacy efforts. Nowhere is this more evident than right here in Rhode Island, where South County Health,  Rhode Island’s smallest nonprofit healthcare system and operators of South County Hospital, has emerged as a driving force behind legislation aimed at improving access to primary care and specialty physicians and providers for the entire state by addressing equitable compensation as compared to Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Aaron Robinson, President & CEO, South County Health

“At South County Health, we believe the Bills for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722 and H 8072, serve to stabilize the entire RI healthcare delivery system, including hospitals, primary care, specialty physicians, and advanced practice providers,” said Aaron Robinson, CEO and President of South County Health. “The Bills also represent a critical financial step in sustaining healthcare for all Rhode Islanders, addressing the needs of our community, ensuring patients have adequate access to primary care and specialty providers, and improving health equity. By rallying together in support of this legislation, we can create positive change that benefits health systems, healthcare workers, and patients, alike.”

While South County Health’s primary mission remains the provision of healthcare services, as Rhode Island’s Most Trusted Health Partner, there is also recognition that responsibility moves beyond the exam room. Health disparities are often rooted in systemic barriers, necessitating proactive engagement with policymakers to effect lasting change. In Rhode Island, this has propelled South County Health to the forefront of legislative discourse.

Elizabeth Hart, Nurse Practitioner, South County Health, testifying in support of the Bill for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722.

At its core, this endeavor embodies the spirit of community stewardship that defines South County Health. By championing change that prioritizes the well-being of all residents, communities serve as catalysts for positive change.

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Following up on the recent unveiling by Senate leaders of the Rhode Island HEALTH Initiative, and testimony at the Rhode Island State House by South County Health providers advocating for this legislation, South County Health is calling on the community to join us in support of Senator V. Susan Sosnowski’s Bill for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722 and Representative Teresa A. Tanzi’s and House leaders’ Bill 2024-H 8072. This critical legislation will help:

      • Ensure adequate access for all Rhode Islanders to primary care and specialty doctors, and advanced practice providers;   
      • Improve the sustainability and quality of Rhode Island’s hospitals; and
      • Improve health equity throughout Rhode Island’s entire healthcare delivery system. 

The Bills aim to address several pressing issues within Rhode Island’s healthcare system. By supporting this legislation, a more equitable and sustainable healthcare environment that benefits all members of the Rhode Island community will be possible.

Daniel Fass, MD, Medical Director, Radiation Therapy, South County Health, testifying in support of the Bill for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722.

One key aspect of the Bills is a focus on healthcare workers. Under the proposed legislation, doctors, advanced practice providers, and hospitals will have the opportunity to achieve equitable reimbursement to their peers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. This not only ensures that our healthcare professionals are fairly compensated for their essential work, but also strengthens the healthcare workforce, ultimately benefiting patient care. By implementing measures to enhance healthcare infrastructure and resources, this legislation will ensure that individuals and families have access to the high-quality care they need and deserve.

The coming weeks and months will present another challenge: rallying community engagement in support of these Bills. South County Health encourages members of our community to contact their elected leaders today and voice their support for the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner Dual Mandate – 2024-S 2722 and H 8072. For more information on the bills or to download a letter of support to send to your legislators, please visit www.southcountyhealth.org/support.

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