First Look: Survey Says RI Lacks Primary Care, Mental Health Providers

Rhode Island may not have enough primary care doctors to meet the need. That’s one conclusion from a major survey of the state’s health care inventory. Also, mental health resources are also lacking.   

Rhode Island’s Department of Health surveyed just about every kind of health care provider and facility you can think of to find out how they’re operating and who they’re serving. They undertook this survey as a result of legislation passed last year requiring the inventory and a statewide health plan.

In a nutshell: we don’t have as many primary care doctors as some have estimated. It turns out Rhode Island has about 600, between about 200 - 400 less than previous estimates. Also, a big percentage of primary care practices are not accepting new patients, and some are not accepting new patients with Medicaid. That could hamper efforts to diagnose and manage chronic diseases among the lowest income Rhode Islanders.

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