PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Governor Dan McKee announced that applications are open for $7.5 million in funding to assist pediatricians that were impacted by COVID-19. This program is part of Governor McKee's Rhode Island Rebounds initiative – a 10 percent investment of the State's $1.13 billion American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds as a down payment on Rhode Island's economic comeback.
"It is vital that our state's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic includes getting children and youth back on track with their medical and mental health care," said Governor McKee. "I thank the General Assembly for approving my Administration's Rhode Island Rebounds proposal and encourage pediatricians to take advantage of this important funding."
Rhode Island Rebounds provides $7.5 million in federal funds to incentivize pediatric primary care practices to ensure all children are up to date with the full array of essential, preventive healthcare services, including on developmental, psychosocial, and behavioral screenings. The funding will support their ability to retain staff, implement extended hours, conduct enhanced outreach, and bring on additional family supports, such as social workers, to address the crisis and ensure all families are caught up on care.
As a result of the public health emergency, many children could not access regular preventative primary care. This has led to delays in routine vaccinations for children, developmental screenings, lead screenings, and other vital preventative care that ensures healthy development. Pediatric care is the front door to many services and supports to address children's health and wellbeing, and if these needs go unaddressed, vital early development and health could be permanently impacted. The state also needed to ensure that pediatric practices have the resources needed to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
"The appropriation of these funds will allow pediatricians to strengthen their practices, improve immunization rates, and overcome COVID-19 related barriers to access," said Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones. "The social and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their corresponding effects on the physical and mental health of our state's children, cannot be overstated. We need to ensure that our pediatricians are best positioned to support the needs of all children and families."
Pediatricians can learn more about the funding, and access the application, here. All applications are due on March 9, 2022 at 5 p.m.