Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2017-S 0266) that would require the participation and input of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (DBHDDH) in medical assistance and public assistance caseload estimating conferences passed the Rhode Island Senate tonight.

The legislation also calls for each department to generate monthly data to members of the caseload estimating conference.

“The legislation is about honest and transparent budgeting. We need an accurate accounting of how many individuals we are serving in these vital programs, so that our budget reflects the associated costs, or makes program adjustments, or both,” said Senator DiPalma.  “With additional facts and data which would result from the biannual Caseload Estimating Conference, the General Assembly would be able to more accurately budget for these needed services.”

The legislation outlines the specific data that each department must provide to the caseload estimating conference.  DHS will report on caseload information and expenditures for cash assistance programs such as RI Works, SSI, general public assistance and child care.

EOHHS shall provide caseload and expenditure information regarding hospitals, long-term care, managed care, and pharmacy and medical service costs.

DCYF will be required to provide caseload and cost information on residential care services, foster care services, behavioral health care services, adoption services and care, juvenile probation and parole services and care, and juvenile justice and education.

Finally, DBHDDH will have to report the cost and caseload data on developmental disability services, mental health services, behavioral health services, substance abuse services, and hospital services which includes forensics.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration where Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) has introduced companion legislation (2017-H 5841).

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).