2023 Long-Term Health Planning Committee Update
The Long Term Health Planning Committee, a group of health and healthcare industry experts and advocates convened by the Rhode Island Foundation, has remained committed over the past four years to supporting policy and programs aligned with the Health in Rhode Island plan and committed to a vision where “Rhode Island is the healthiest state in the nation." Overall, we remain focused on the four main priorities outlined in Health in Rhode Island.
We also remain committed to our guiding principles. These principles came about as a result of important conversations within and beyond the committee around how to ensure that any actions and advocacy of the committee would be undertaken in a way that focuses on (1) the root causes and conditions of inequalities, (2) the specific needs of marginalized communities, (3) systemic change, and (4) delivering enduring change and solutions.
- Providing the most appropriate care for people in the most appropriate setting.
- Focusing upstream on root causes and investing in affordable housing, food security and transportation to address underlying inequities and influencers of health disparities.
- Improving behavioral health outcomes by focusing on access to care, coordination of care and prevention.
- Reducing wasteful spending in order to redirect resources to social determinants and improve affordability.
- Ensuring sustainability, accountability and oversight of the group’s vision, and maintaining progress in key areas where Rhode Island performs well.
In 2023, the Committee continued to work towards identifying ways in which it could leverage its collective voice and influence legislative, regulatory, statutory, and policy making opportunities that align with our priorities and principles. In 2023, a majority of our members signed on to two letters:
The first letter was to General Assembly leadership calling for a prioritization around strengthening the state’s health workforce. An excerpt is included below:
One of the important themes we wish to highlight is the clear connection between addressing the state’s healthcare workforce challenges and achieving the priorities of the Health in Rhode Island plan.
- Ensuring “appropriate care in the appropriate setting,” for example, that robust Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are available for older adults and people with disabilities, necessitates additional investment in workforce, including wages and other workforce supports.
- Additionally, the Committee recognizes that the Social Determinants of Health are also the determinants of a sustainable and representative workforce. Supporting a strong health workforce is simply not possible without, for example, increased investment in housing for different income levels, robust public transportation, and adequate access to childcare.
- Ensuring an adequate continuum of care within the state behavioral health system will require a focus on building workforce capacity across all levels of practice and on attracting and retaining a racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse workforce.
- Finally, the Committee remains focused on supporting efforts focused on the long-term work of pushing our healthcare delivery system forward to ensure that resources are being allocated efficiently, allowing for reinvestment in addressing core social determinants. One component of creating an efficient and effective delivery system is ensuring a sufficient workforce, a stark reality demonstrated by challenges in accessing primary care and behavioral health services.
The second letter was submitted to the Governor asking for a prioritization of public health sector capacity and infrastructure investments. An excerpt was included below:
Our committee agrees that access to high-quality, affordable, sustainable, and culturally appropriate healthcare services is critical to Rhode Islanders and the state’s economy. Achieving this goal requires (1) addressing a lack of baseline information on the “health” of the Rhode Island health care delivery system, (2) robust resourcing for existing state regulatory and public health authorities, and (3) comprehensive health care system evaluation, planning, and transparency.
The data dashboard can be accessed at HealthinRI.com.
Our continuing commitment
Our goal is to continue our collective momentum in 2024, as well as develop a progress report that both celebrates the successes in Rhode Island towards achieving our plan’s priorities, as well as areas that need continued investment, focus, and partnership.