CTC Seeks Support for Primary Care Workforce Legislation

  • 08 May 2024

The struggle to find a primary care provider or pediatrician in Rhode Island continues to worsen as providers leave practice in record numbers.  Rhode Islanders have nowhere to go to get care.  CTC-RI and the Rhode Ahead Initiatives are two public/private partnerships that have been working to address the crisis in access to primary care and the lack of culturally appropriate and linguistically competent care, among other workforce issues.

The General Assembly is considering four bills to implement strategies recommended by the CTC Primary Care Workforce Task Force and the Rhode Ahead, strengthen and diversify the healthcare workforce. The bills would (1) fund a scholarship program for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to remove financial barriers to practice in primary care; (2) devote new funding to clinical training sites with specific primary care training criteria and curriculum; (3) increase funding for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program to recruit and retain a range of providers who will work in underserved areas; and (4) implement a new “Ladders to Licensure” program to provide pathways for paraprofessionals to pursue higher education degrees and licensure, to help diversify our professional workforce.  

Senate and House Finance Committees are holding hearings on the bills, and many of you have written letters of support and testified.  Our work in not done!  Support is needed to get these bills funded and across the finish line.

A Take Action Toolkit was created to make writing a letter of support easy!  The Tool Kit contains information on the bills, a legislator look-up link and a template for crafting a strong letter of support or testimony.  The letter template includes email addresses for key leaders in the Senate and House.

The CTC-RI Primary Care Workforce Task Force continues to meet monthly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 a.m.  At its meeting on May 8th, the group heard updates on the testimony in favor of the Loan Repayment and Ladders to Licensure bills at a recent House Finance Committee meeting held on May 1, 2024.  Also discussed were potential strategies for implementing the Scholarship and Clinical Training bills, in the event they are passed.  Taskforce members brainstormed actions that should be taken in the event the bills do not pass.  The Task Force continues its work to review and recommend actions to address the goals outlined in its report,  Primary Care Access for All:  A Strategic Road Map for Patient Access and Primary Care Workforce Capacity Building