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Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island

Recent state law in Rhode Island mandates that hospitals provide qualified interpreters at no additional cost to the patient, providing a unique opportunity for NHPRI to pilot a mechanism to reimburse hospitals, clinics and physicians for interpreter services and to test whether a reimbursement code is a viable means of generating income for the provision of language services. In terms of service, NHPRI will focus on improving Spanish-language materials and will assess the language and interpreting abilities of existing bilingual staff and interpreters, while recruiting additional interpreters for use at each of the facilities in order to build on its existing strengths in serving the Latino community.

About the Organization

The first health center-affiliated health plan in the nation to receive the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s top rating of “excellent,” NHPRI serves 70,000 members throughout the state.


Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Women and Infant’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Providence Community Health Centers.

About the Service Area

NHPRI serves all of Rhode Island but focuses on the community of Providence.

Click here to view a map of their service area.

Existing Language Services

Each of NHPRI’s four partner hospitals has recruited and hired bilingual staff to provide a variety of services, including triage, interpreting and emergency room assistance. In addition, interpreters are available throughout the day and evening, with bilingual staff and language lines used in emergencies.

The Latino Population in the Service Area

Latinos in 1990: 24,986
Latinos in 2000: 52,146
% Increase: 109%
Total Population: 173,618

The number of Latinos in Providence has doubled between 1990 and 2000 and currently forms 30% of the city’s total population. Latino children now represent 45% of all children in Providence. The median age of Latinos is 23 years, making this city’s Latino population one of the youngest in the region and nation. Latino immigrants to Rhode Island have typically arrived from other areas in the United States, including New York, California and Florida, attracted by an improved quality of life, lower cost of living than other cities in the Northeast, and smaller communities Puerto Ricans and Colombians arrived in the 1960s-1970s, attracted by opportunities in the textiles and manufacturing sectors. Dominicans and Guatemalans arrived in larger numbers from the 1980’s and have tended to work in service positions, which often pay less than minimum wage and offer few, if any, benefits.

Overall, the unemployment rate for Latinos in Rhode Island was double the average for the state, with Latinos experiencing higher rates of unemployment than both whites and African-Americans. The rate of poverty for Latinos in Rhode Island (22.8%) was also nearly double the national poverty rate (11.8%), while 51% of Latino children lived in households below the poverty level. Rhode Island Latinos have a higher percentage of persons with low levels of education than any other ethnic group, while the LEP population comprises the highest percentage of students who fail to meet standard performance levels.

The main causes of death for Latinos in Rhode Island include cancer, heart disease, homicide, AIDS and unintentional injuries. Of these, only cancer and heart disease would be included in a list for all Rhode Island residents. Latinos still experience higher rates of lead poisoning and infant mortality, which have remained constant for Latinos but fallen for white and black infants. In addition, the incidence of tuberculosis is two times higher than the statewide average, and the rate of HIV infection is nearly four times higher than the statewide average. However, lower proportions of Latino children and adults drink alcohol or smoke marijuana or tobacco products.

Website: www.nhpri.org



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