What Programs Are Available To Assist People With Disabilities in Rhode Island?

Is there a Medicaid waiver program in Rhode Island? Rhode Island's Medicaid waiver program:

** Rhode Island does not have any Home and Community Based Waiver Programs. Prior to 2009, there were nine HCBS waivers. In 2009 they consolidated to One overall 1115 Waiver.

What state department handles the Medicaid waiver program in Rhode Island? Rhode Island's Department of Human Services manages the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver.

What programs assist people who have developmental disabilities Rhode Island? The Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver assists persons with disabilities in Rhode Island.

What is the best number to call to get started? Call Rhode Island Works at (401) 415-8200 to learn more about programs that can help persons with disabilities. Or call (401) 462-4444, THE POINT, which provides information, referrals, and help getting started with programs and services for seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers.

Is there a website to learn more? http://www.dhs.ri.gov/

Who Qualifies For Assistance?

What is considered a developmental disability in Rhode Island? To be eligible for supports funded through the Division of Developmental Disabilities individuals must meet the following definition of developmental disability, as stated in RI State Law:
"The term 'developmental disability' means a severe, chronic disability of a person which:

  • attributable to a mental or physical impairment of combination of mental and physical impairments;
  • is manifested before the person attains age twenty-two (22);
  • is likely to continue indefinitely;
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: personal care; communication; mobility; learning; self-direction; capacity for independent living; economic self-sufficiency;
  • and, reflects the person's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services which are life-long or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated."

Are there income limits to receive waiver services in Rhode Island? Your income must be at or below 175 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to receive waiver services in Rhode Island.

How old do you have to be to start receiving services? There are no age requirements to receive waiver services in Rhode Island.

Is There a Waiting List For Services?

How long is the waiting list in Rhode Island? Rhode Island's Global Waiver does not have a waiting list.

How many people are on the waiting list in Rhode Island? Rhode Island's Global Waiver does not have a waiting list.

How many people are currently receiving services? The Department of Behavioral Healthcare provides services/supports to approximately 4000 adults with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island. These services are both privately operated and publicly operated and they are typically funded in three board categories: Residential Services, Day/Employment Services and Family Supports.

What assistance is available while you wait? N/A

Is there priority preference for people who are in crisis? N/A

What Services Are Offered & What Are The Service Limitations?

What services does the Medicaid waiver program offer? Services available in Rhode Island include: Day programs; homemaker services; public group homes for persons with developmental disabilities; private group homes for persons with developmental disabilities; community supports; shared living; supported employment; case management; transportation; prevocational services; and job development.

The resource allocation is based on a SIS. Clients may choose how they will spend their resource allocation.

Does Rhode Island offer community group homes? Rhode Island offers Shared Living Arrangements: This is a residential option for an adult with a developmental disability to reside with and receive customized support from someone who has contracted with an Authorized Placement Agency to be a Home Provider for that Individual.

Does Rhode Island offer supported living? No, Rhode Island does not provide supported living services.

Are there still state owned institutions in Rhode Island? There are no state institutions for persons with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island. There is one state hospital system; the Eleanor Slater Unified Hospital System (ESH). The hospital is licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health, and treats patients with acute and long term medical illnesses as well as patients with psychiatric disorders. The 495 bed public hospital consists of two campus locations: The Eleanor Slater Hospital at the John O. Pastore Center in Cranston, RI and the Eleanor Slater Hospital/Zambarano Unit in Burrillville, RI.

How Do You Select A Provider?

Do providers work for the state? No, The Division certifies a variety of community provider agencies creating a statewide network of community services/supports for adults with developmental disabilities.

About how many waiver providers are there in Rhode Island? There are 37 agencies licensed to provide support and services to people with developmental disabilities.

Do you have a choice in providers? Individuals can choose to have their services provided by any of the 37 community agencies licensed by BHDDH and/or certified by DDD or they can choose to utilize a fiscal intermediary and hire their own staff.

How Do You Become A Provider?

If you need help with the application process call: Dianne Folco (401) 784-3801. To participate in the RI Medicaid, providers must be located and performing services in Rhode Island or in a border community.

Additional Information

Prior to the Global Waiver, Rhode Island operated all of the following authorities and programs:

  • One state plan
  • One 1115 Waiver, Rlte Care
  • Nine 1915(c) Waivers
  • One 1915(b) waiver, Rlte Smiles

The Global Waiver become approved in 2009. After that approval, Rhode Island operated the Medicaid program under two authorities only, the state plan and the Global Waiver.

When the federal government approved the waiver, a spending ceiling of $12 billion for five years was established. This spending ceiling means that the federal government will not share in the expenses of the Rhode Island Medicaid program if the overall program costs are more than $12 billion over the five years of the waiver. Rhode Island Medicaid accepted a capped allotment of federal Medicaid funds in exchange for much broader discretion in the operation of its Medicaid program.

RI Providers

Rhode Island Providers


Bridges, Inc. (401) 423-1153
Serving Rhode Island
Bridges is a human services agency which provides support services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Corliss Institute, Inc 401-245-3609
Serving Rhode Island
A unique and innovative community based agency located in Warren, RI. We provide services for adults with developmental and other disabilities,