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At Listening Session, Stories Of High Health Care Costs

Published
Rhode Islanders shared their experiences with the state’s health care system Tuesday night at a community center in Warwick. It’s the first of two...

Rhode Islanders shared their experiences with the state’s health care system Tuesday night at a community center in Warwick. It’s the first of two public listening sessions. State health officials say the comments will be reflected in a plan to improve health care.

That plan, prepared by the governor’s Working Group on Healthcare Innovation, is due in December. The group’s charge is to find a way to cap overall health care spending and improve Rhode Islanders’ health. No small task. But Executive Office of Health and Human Services secretary Elizabeth Roberts says the stories Rhode Islanders shared about high costs or poor quality care will help shape their work.

  “So we take an issue that gets raised and then start talking to the hospital systems, the physicians," said Roberts. "You know, is this something that is really system wide? We heard a story. We’re guessing that if someone tells a story, there are many stories that are very similar.”

Roberts says some themes emerged in the first public meeting. Many Rhode Islanders say health insurance is still unaffordable, prices aren’t transparent, and patients need help coordinating care across systems.

Elizabeth Roberts leads the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Elizabeth Roberts leads the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.