RI State Report: Rhode Island Gets Big Money For Housing + Medicare
Saturday, August 10, 2013
And lastly, the governor has announced the headline guest for the state’s upcoming “Charter Forum.” Here’s a hint: it’s a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Keep reading to find out who.
RI Gets $11.7 Million to Improve Affordable Housing
Twenty-five Rhode Island cities and towns will receive a total of $11.7 million federal funding to develop, finance, and modernize public housing, this according to an announcement made by Sen. Jack Reed on Thursday.
“This federal funding will help Rhode Island housing authorities preserve affordable housing, build stronger neighborhoods, and put more contractors to work making needed repairs,” said Reed.
The grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public Housing Capital Fund Program, which provides funding for capital and management activities, including development and modernization of public housing.
The funding ranges from $13,758 being awarded to Narragansett, to $3,228,877 going to Providence.
There are approximately 9,500 public housing units in Rhode Island.
Click here to see the full list of municipalities, which will receive funding.
Four RI Hospitals to Receive $5.75 Million in Medicare Payments
On Wednesday, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives David Cicilline announced that Kent, Newport, South County, and Westerly Hospitals would receive an extra $5.75 million in Medicare payments as part of a “wage index” adjustment by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
“This additional federal funding will continue to ensure greater certainty for these hospitals and level the playing field for hospital staff so they are fairly paid for providing care to patients,” said Reed. “I have had many conversations with CMS over the years, and I am pleased the agency continues to respond to the delegation’s efforts to ensure Rhode Island’s hospitals are fairly reimbursed.”
The wage index helps to ensure that Kent, Newport, and Washington County patients will continue to have access to superior health care services, as well as guarantee that these hospitals continue to be a source of sustainable jobs.
Prior to the wage index adjustment, Newport, Kent, South County, and Westerly Hospitals were consistently being reimbursed on a lower wage index than every other hospital in the state. As a result, there was a severe payment disparity amongst hospitals located within a close proximity of each other.
Here’s the disbursement breakdown:
- Newport Hospital will receive an additional $968,000 in Medicare reimbursement in FY14.
- Kent Hospital will receive an additional $2.7 million in Medicare reimbursement in FY14.
- South County Hospital will receive an additional $1.09 million in Medicare reimbursement in FY14.
- Westerly Hospital will receive an additional $990,000 in Medicare reimbursement in FY14.
In July, the federal government awarded Rhode Island $5.9 million in federal grants to help the state’s hospitals better respond to natural disasters and public health emergencies.
Chafee Announces Release of the Regulatory Look Back Report
As part of this Regulatory Reform Initiative, Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced the release of the Period One Regulatory Look Back Report, which was issued by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR).
“This report is a step forward for regulatory reform and is the first time our state has taken on the tremendous task to look internally for improvements to the regulatory process,” Chafee said. “It is an encouraging start, and we will continue to move toward our goal of a simpler regulatory process and an improved business climate for our state.”
According to ORR Director Leslie Taito, the report offered key findings and recommendations, which will help the state create a more proactive regulatory landscape.
“This report is the culmination of the Period One review of Rhode Island's existing regulations. The data provided by regulatory entities disclose new insight into the complex landscape of regulations and their effect on those they regulate. This is the beginning of partnership among our office, regulators and the business community to streamline the regulatory process,” said Taito.
Announced in September 2012, the Regulatory Reform Initiative looks to make Rhode Island more business-friendly by requiring state agencies to review 25 percent of its regulations each year for four years to identify any adverse effects on small businesses.
A copy of the report can be viewed on the Department of Administration website at http://www.doa.state.ri.us/reports.
RI State Police Nabs First Place in National Law Enforcement Challenge
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has named the Rhode Island State Police a winner of the 2012 National Law Enforcement Challenge.
The agency nabbed first prize in the State Police/Highway Patrol category, which included departments with up to 250 officers. Competitors were evaluated in areas such as training, incentives, community outreach, enforcement activity and effectiveness of efforts.
The RI State Police beat out more than 200 law enforcement agencies, according to State Police, Col. Steven O’Donnell, who announced the news on Monday.
“We stand proud to lead our state toward zero deaths and work with community safety partners to ensure roadway safety. This is a tremendous honor, and we could not have earned it without the dedication and hard work of our Division members, who are out on the roadways protecting citizens across the state every day and night,” said O'Donnell. “I am proud to represent the men and women of the Rhode Island State Police.”
O’Donnell will receive the award on behalf of the State Police at the IACP Annual Conference in Philadelphia in October.
The world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization of police executives, the IACP’s membership includes more than 20,000 Law Enforcement Professionals in over 100 countries.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan Headed to Trinity Rep for ‘Charter Forum’
Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced on Wednesday that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will headline a “Charter Forum,” which will emphasize the role of Rhode Island’s 1663 Colonial Charter in shaping the American legal system.
“We celebrate the 350th anniversary of our Colonial Charter in the same year we are enacting equality in marriage,” said Chafee. “Rhode Island should be proud of its place in history as a trailblazer in civil rights, including freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. I am pleased that Justice Kagan will be joining us at the forum highlighting the significance of Rhode Island's Colonial Charter in American history.”
Brown University historian and former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton Ted Widmer will also be in attendance.
Kagan’s visit to Providence is part of a yearlong celebration of the Rhode Island Colonial Charter, which is currently on display on the first floor of the State House.
The forum will be held on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Rep’s Chace Auditorium. Admission is free, but reservations are required though Trinity Rep’s box office, either in person or online at http://www.trinityrep.com using the promotional code “JUSTICE.”
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