The Special Legislative Commission to Study and Evaluate the Impact of “Project Sustainability” in the State of Rhode Island will be meeting this Tuesday, January 8 at 2:00 pm in the Senate Lounge of the State House.  The commission is chaired by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Tiverton, Newport).

The commission will be hearing presentations from Bill Ashe, Ed.D. and Mary Lee Fay on options to modify Rhode Island’s current service and funding model for developmental disability services. 

Bill Ashe EdD has provided services within a fee for service environment as well as in an environment where the funding was bundled around the individual service recipient. He has also provided services where funding was provided for a program rather than a person. Bill participated in the development of the current funding system in Vermont and is currently involved with the process to modify and update Vermont’s payment system. He has worked in state government (Massachusetts) and as a service provider in Vermont. He has years of experience supporting individuals with I/DD, including a large number of people considered among the most challenging to support within a community-based setting. He has a solid understanding of the relationship between funding models and the ability to offer innovative and effective community supports.

Mary Lee Fay is the Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS). She has over 35 years of experience in adult I/DD services, having served as the director of developmental disabilities services in Oregon as well as in numerous other positions. As DD director, Mary Lee led the closure of all private and public ICF/IDs, implemented a self-directed waiver using independent brokerages, and redesigned services to focus on person-centered thinking. At NASDDDS she oversees state technical assistance and a wide variety of research in states across the country. She is currently working in states to assist in the review and redesign of state funding practices.

Project Sustainability, which was enacted in the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals’ (BHDDH) FY2012 budget, is the fee-for-service reimbursement and payment system for Medicaid supported adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The 19-member commission consists of Senator DiPalma as chairman, two consumer advocates, several representatives from BHDDH and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, other patient advocates, and representatives from different service providers.

Public comment will be taken at the meeting.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.