STATE HOUSE — Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care has honored Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) with its 2017 Legislative Champion Award for her advocacy efforts that support home-based healthcare service delivery.
“Representative Serpa has a record that demonstrates her longstanding commitment to access to quality healthcare for all Rhode Islanders,” said Nicholas A. Oliver, executive director of the organization, during a presentation Tuesdayat the State House. “She has been an influencer in the debate to more cost-effectively provide healthcare for our patients and clients without jeopardizing the quality care that they receive.”
Oliver said he appreciates Representative Serpa’s continued efforts in working with House leadership to leverage support for the organization’s proposed state Medicaid rate increase for home care services in the FY 2018 state budget to expedite eligibility to those in crisis. Serpa, who serves as chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, has been investigating the much-maligned UHIP rollout.
“When I accepted the chairmanship of the committee late last spring, I never really expected to be dealing with life and death matters,” said Representative Serpa, “and this award really belongs to the whole committee for the hours everyone put in to make sure people are doing their jobs. When people don’t do their jobs, we’re left with people without care, we’re left with dead babies, and we’re left with a waiting list of children who need to be investigated for possible child abuse. I promise to continue to keep fighting to hold those people accountable.”
The $364-million Unified Health Infrastructure project, now also called RIBridges, is a statewide computer system that replaces and unifies numerous aged computer systems across the state’s human services agencies, with the goals of modernization, information sharing and efficiency. The program has faced criticism for changes in size and scope over the years.
“First we heard from the individuals who were adversely affected by this — the long lines and other barriers that have kept people from getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits,” said Representative Serpa. “Then the nursing homes, daycares and other service providers — many of which are family-run small businesses — have indicated that they have exhausted their line of credit and have had to take out personal loans just to pay their bills because it’s taking so long to get reimbursed.”