“Future Trends” Conference Renews Conversation on Medicaid

PROVIDENCE, RI – (October 24, 2012) Impending changes to Medicaid at both the national and state level stand to impact services and care available to Rhode Island citizens who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. For this reason, on Tuesday, October 23 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick a group of non-profit service providers hosted “Future Trends: Opportunities for Collaboration in the Developmental Disabilities Community,” a gathering of the most innovative and knowledgeable people in Rhode Island: governmental leaders, advocates, and community members.

In an impressive spirit of collective purpose, the 130 attendees who participated in the conference examined pressing challenges, discussed effective solutions, and initiated dialogue that will contribute to positive change in the state.

Rhode Island First Lady Stephanie Chafee, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Secretary of Health and Human Services Steven Costantino, and members of the General Assembly participated in “Future Trends,” which featured a keynote address by Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, “Equality of Healthcare,” and a second address, “Emerging Trends in Medicaid,” by Connie Garner of United Cerebral Palsy in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Kennedy’s address emphasized the importance of expanding health care, especially for those who face the most serious challenges to health, while making sure that “we’re all treated equally…and integrated into the overall system with dignity.” “If you’re about personalized care,” the Congressman urged, “then you know you can’t put a one-size-fits-all on a community with challenges that are well known and well understood.” In Rhode Island, he reminded attendees, “we have a difficult problem [in terms of the current economic climate] but we have the right principles fighting for us.”

“Future Trends” marked an important step in the collaboration of private, non-profit service providers with state and federal decision makers to shape the future design of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities.  The forum provided an opportunity to discuss current features of Medicaid on the federal level, emerging trends in the states, potential federal changes to the Medicaid program, and “Living RIte,” a demonstration project already underway that concerns persons who are “dual eligible” for both Medicare and Medicaid.

“We are positioned very well in this state because of being at the forefront with projects and grants,” said Christine Gadbois, Vice President of Seven Hills Rhode Island, one of the provider groups. Her comment came during a panel discussion with Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) Director Craig Stenning. “We have a unique possibility in Rhode Island to effect a change in health care [for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities] and become a model for the nation,” said Thomas Kane, President and CEO of Access Point Rhode Island.


Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

previous arrow
next arrow