Rhode Island Conducts Statewide Inventory of Healthcare System

March 16, 2016|10:39 a.m.| Noelle Andrade

An extensive statewide health inventory survey initiative from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided an unprecedented inventory of the state’s healthcare landscape. The findings will inform efforts to improve healthcare industry outcomes and lower the cost of patient care.

This work aligned with the state’s federally-funded State Innovation Models initiative to design and test innovative payment and delivery models, as well as Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s “Reinventing Medicaid” initiative.

“A statewide inventory of health services and experiences of this scope and at this level of detail is almost unprecedented in the country,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, director of RIDOH. “Its results will enhance our work to address the underlying social and environmental determinants of health, ensure access to quality healthcare for all Rhode Islanders, and eliminate the disparities in health outcomes that we see between different populations throughout our state."

Survey findings were compiled in the “Rhode Island Department of Health 2015 Statewide Health Inventory Utilization and Capacity Study,” which details survey methodology and results for each of the healthcare areas. Recommendations included:

  • Increased recruitment and retention of primary care physicians.
  • Standardized demographic data collection.
  • Expanded efforts to integrate community health workers and community health teams into the care delivery system.

These recommendations reinforce the SIM initiative’s mandate to identify strategies that achieve higher quality care that better meets patient needs at a lower cost.

Key findings from the inventory included the following:

  • The number of primary care physicians in Rhode Island is 10 percent lower than national standards for healthcare access.
  • Patient data on race, ethnicity and languages is substantially limited, as is the availability of interpreter services.
  • Over half of assisted living residences report they are not accepting new Medicaid patients, despite the Reinventing Medicaid initiatives’ intent to expand access to community-based long-term care.
  • Financial barriers, such as high co-pays and deductibles, may be preventing Rhode Islanders from getting care.


Rhode Island’s legislature charged the department of health, in consultation with the Health Care Planning and Accountability Advisory Council, with developing a statewide landscape of Rhode Island’s healthcare system in order to evaluate accessibility and barriers to medical services. RIDOH also assessed community member experiences, developing a comprehensive patient perspective regarding access. From June to September 2015, the department collected data through surveys sent to a variety of healthcare facilities all across the state. Data were collected in partnership with numerous state agencies, community providers, and other stakeholders. The inventory was developed based on more than 2,000 survey responses.

The department plans to explore additional areas of health service capacity and care accessibility through future analyses and reports. This inventory, and planned subsequent editions are part of RIDOH’s strategic priorities to improve health equity, address the social and environmental determinants of health, and ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to high quality healthcare.

A study of this magnitude was the first of its kind to be conducted by RIDOH since its last statewide health plan completed in 1986. For more information, please see this press release.

Noelle Andrade

Noelle Andrade worked as an intern on ASTHO's Health Systems Transformation team from January 2015 until March 2016. She is currently a policy analyst at the National Committee for Quality Assurance.