Senate OKs bill seeking to create new state
Department of Hospitals

 

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to develop a plan to move the purview of state hospitals out of the Department of Behavior Healthcare, Development Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) into a separate Department of Hospitals.

The legislation (2024-S 2075A) directs the secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS)  to present plan for the realignment of state hospitals into a Department of Hospitals to the to the General Assembly by Sept. 1.

Creating a stand-alone department for hospitals was a recommendation of a commission that Chairman Miller led in 2021 and 2022 to study and recommend improvements for the governance structure and effective administration of health and human services in Rhode Island.

“The role of managing hospitals is very different from BHDDH’s other health and human services responsibilities. Separating hospitals into their own department would enable both agencies to sharpen their focus and better support all of the programs they administer and oversee. Our goal is more effective use of our health care resources so Rhode Islanders have the best access possible to all the care they need,” said Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

Chairman Miller worked with the EOHHS on the bill, and he noted that the timeline included in the bill is intentionally swift, with the hope of implementing the creation of the new department soon.

The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Tina L. Spears (D-Dist. 36, Charlestown, New Shoreham, South Kingstown, Westerly) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024-H 7180).

 

 

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