2024 legislative wins for primary care

  • 28 Jun 2024

Thanks to our legislative leaders, champion legislators Sen. Pamela Lauria and Rep. Kathleen Fogarty, and the amazing advocacy of our primary care community and supporters, this 2024 General Assembly session had some important wins for our primary care workforce!


Enhanced Curriculum & Clinical Training: This measure provides $2.7 million to primary care practices to serve as enhanced interdisciplinary clinical training sites. It will recruit 30 advanced primary care training sites, increasing training slots by 50% for nurse practitioners, physician assistant students, and physician residents. The funds will also be used to develop a site curriculum, quarterly learning collaborative sessions, data collection, and project management. These sites are needed to train the next generation of providers, and since students often decide to work where they train, increasing training can improve access to care.


Primary Care Scholarship Program: This measure was included as part of the Wavemaker Scholarship Program, which provides a tax credit to cover the cost of student loans. It 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 after residency training in Family Medicine, Pediatrics, or General Internal Medicine to practice primary care here for eight years. The goals are to encourage medical students to practice in these fields due to the reduction or elimination of their student debt.


Ladders to Licensure: This measure forges collaborations between the institutions of higher learning and provider practices to support staff that want to advance from paraprofessionals to licensed clinicians. Advanced primary care requires a team-based approach, with each team member working to the top of their license. By addressing the workforce of licensed providers like registered nurses and social workers, the start of investing in this program will support primary care by reducing burnout and addressing understaffed teams.


"As a primary care nurse practitioner, I have seen the lack of access and the crisis RI is facing up close. I was proud to partner with CTC-RI to find some solutions for training and recruiting more providers," said Senator Lauria. "There is a lot of work left to do, and I will be an advocate every step of the way."


“The talk in RI was that no one could get a primary care appointment. Senator Lauria reached out to me to meet with CTC-RI. I not only learned more about the primary care shortage, but found out we had a serious lack of clinical training sites for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants. I said, ‘this is a 9-1-1 call for our state’ and we need to really think differently about staffing primary care,” said Rep. Kathleen Fogarty. “Speaker Shekarchi, whose father is a retired physician, concurred on these concerns, and agreed that my heart and head were in the correct place to address these issues. Working with Sen. Lauria and CTC-RI, legislation was developed and presented to both the House and Senate Finance Committees. I am pleased that we had legislative success and both H7902 and H7903 were approved, not fully funded, but still approved and became part of the 2025 budget. Now to move our plan into action!”

In addition to the above legislation, we want to thank Speaker Shekarchi for his commitment to spotlighting the needs of our industry by holding a Health Care Summit and inviting CTC-RI to participate, thank Senate President Ruggerio for his legislative package to address a wide variety of needs in health care, and the Senate for creating a new Commission to explore the potential establishment of a medical school at URI.


We hope to continue working with our legislative leaders to identify solutions that help our primary care workforce, which ultimately supports families across our state! A special thanks to our legislative champions this session, including Senator Pamela Lauria and Rep. Kathleen Fogarty, for making this progress and momentum possible.