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Nursing Home Win in Rhode Island
For the first time in nearly 20 years Rhode Island has approved an increase of nursing home beds within the state—Saint Elizabeth Home will create a cluster of small, communal-style buildings for 48 seniors in East Greenwich, RI.

In 1996, a moratorium was imposed on additional nursing home beds in Rhode Island. RI General Laws § 23-17-44 provides that “prior to July 1, 2016 and with the exception of the culture initiative pursuant to § 23-17-44(3), the licensing agency shall not increase the licensed bed capacity of any existing licensed nursing facility, including any nursing facility approved for change in ownership pursuant to §§ 23-17-14.3 and 23-17-14.4, to greater than the level of the facility's licensed bed capacity as of August 21, 1996 plus the greater of ten (10) beds or ten percent (10%) of the licensed bed capacity.” In 2009 the “culture change initiative” exception was added. This exception allows the licensing agency to increase the licensed bed capacity of any existing licensed nursing facility, including any nursing facility approved for change in ownership, for the purposes of nursing facility culture change. The criteria for “culture change” includes, among other factors, a focus on beds that are designed to provide enhanced quality of life to nursing facility residents through the adoption of principles and building designs established by the "Eden alternative," "Green house," or "small house" programs or other like means and consideration of the impact on the regional distribution of, and access to, nursing facility beds in the state.

The East Greenwich project was permitted by under the "culture change initiative." Saint Elizabeth is undertaking a Green House Homes project, a brand of nursing home that emphasizes improved quality of life and care and potential savings in Medicaid and Medicare spending.

The Rhode Island Department of Health sought a request for proposals in 2014 for 116 beds that could be added and received three applications. Only Saint Elizabeth's proposal for 48 beds was approved, bringing its total to 168 beds. This leaves room for the potential of the approval of more projects increasing the number of nursing home beds in Rhode Island. After nearly 20 years with no additional nursing home beds being added, this is an exciting time for the nursing home industry in Rhode Island.

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