New RI legislation helps address primary care workforce crisis

  • 04 Apr 2024

On March 5, CTC-RI was asked to join the historic Senate announcement of the Rhode Island HEALTH Initiative, a 25-bill legislative package to improve RI health care affordability and access.

“As Rhode Island continues to face a mounting primary care workforce shortage, resulting in difficulty for patients accessing primary care, our Collaborative has been working to pilot and advance programs that focus on recruiting, training, and retaining primary care providers in Rhode Island," said our executive director Deb Hurwitz at the Senate press conference. "Our work has included launching a Primary Care Workforce Task Force – bringing physicians, nurses, higher education institutions, and experienced experts to the table – to develop real next steps solutions to this workforce crisis."

Legislation has since been proposed in the House and Senate to address the primary care crisis:

  • Senate Bill 2716 and House Bill 7902 provide new funding to clinical training sites in RI, with specific primary care training criteria and curriculum. This fills a huge gap in primary care training in our state, ensuring training sites can dedicate capacity and resources to growing our future workforce.
  • Senate Bill 2717 and House Bill 7903 funds a four-year scholarship program for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants. The students would either remain in RI after medical school or return to RI after residency training in Family Medicine, Pediatrics, or General Internal Medicine to practice primary care for 8 years. The goals would be to encourage medical students to practice in these fields due to the reduction or elimination of their student debt.
  • House Bill 8079 appropriates $1,000,000 annually for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, helping Rhode Island recruit and retain our future primary care workforce.
  • House Bill 8078 implements a new grant program to fund public or private partnerships that provide “ladders to licensure” – pathways for healthcare paraprofessionals to pursue higher education degrees and health professional licensure, including behavioral health and nursing. Importantly, this will also help diversify our workforce.


We're seeking members of our community to help us submit letters of support for this legislation! Email to help. We'll also be reaching out to our community very soon with key steps!