PROVIDENCE – During a nearly five-hour hearing Thursday evening, clients, legislators, advocates and leaders of unions, health centers, hospitals, nursing homes and social-service organizations testified in favor of a cluster of Senate bills that together would implement long-overdue increases in Medicaid reimbursements and adopt other measures aimed at improving access and the quality of health care services for needy Rhode Island babies, children and adults.

The picture they presented was of a system long neglected by the state and in deepening crisis.

“We were once in top-10 in the country and now we’re in the bottom 10 and slowly sinking into the quicksand. The system is broken and broken badly. We need to fix it,” said former state Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr., now the vice president of operations for the Substance Use Mental Health Leadership Council of RI.