Legislative Updates

The Virginia Chapter of AAHAM and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association have a strong partnership which supports our membership through education and networking.   For more information on the VHHA, click here.

Please contact Brent Rawlings or Sara Heisler with any questions regarding this material.

More information on these and other measures considered during the session is available at http://leg1.state.va.us.

August 2020

Special Session Set for Aug. 18;

VHHA Requests Additional CARES Act Funding 

Governor Northam has called the General Assembly into a special session that begins on Tuesday, August 18. Details are sparse and it remains unclear how long the session may last. While specific parameters regarding the scope of legislation to be considered have not been set, Governor Northam and legislative leaders have indicated they will primarily focus on $2.2 billion in budget funding (covering the 2021-2022 fiscal period) that was frozen earlier this year due to coronavirus-related revenue uncertainty. Also on the special session agenda is criminal justice and policing reform policy.

The General Assembly has not yet announced where, or how, it will meet – the expectation is that attendance will be limited to legislators, staff, and members of the media. Video livestreams of the session and committee hearings will be available to the public (the House of Delegates video stream can be viewed here, and the Virginia Senate stream can be accessed here). 

VHHA’s priorities during the special session will largely focus on the budget. Our main objective is the removal of budget amendments that penalize doctors and hospitals for providing emergency care to Medicaid patients in situations when those visits are later deemed “avoidable,” and for “preventable” Medicaid patient readmissions within 30 days of discharge. The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) and Virginia College of Emergency Physicians (VACEP) join VHHA in opposition to these harmful budget amendments.

VHHA is also seeking the distribution of $218 million in funding from the state’s allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to Virginia hospitals to compensate them for expenses related to surge preparations. The amount is based on expenses already incurred by Virginia hospitals and does not include projected expenses related to potential future surges. 

In addition to those priority items, the VHHA Advocacy Team will carefully monitor and review other legislation and budget amendments as they are introduced. 


Senate Republicans Release Next

COVID-19 Relief Package

As Congress races to wrap up legislative business prior to the August recess, Republicans in the U.S. Senate recently proposed a series of concepts for inclusion in the next COVID-19 relief package. The package includes an additional $25 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. The starting point for the Medicare accelerated payments program repayment clock would be extended from 120 days to 270 days after the issuance of an accelerated payment; the repayment period would be extended from 12 to 18 months. Another proposal would protect health care providers from liability for injuries related to COVID-19 treatment, diagnosis, or care. 

The package also includes these provisions: improvements to the Strategic National Stockpile and state stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE); new tax credits for domestic PPE manufacturing and requirements that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) purchase PPE domestically; an extension of Medicare telehealth waivers through the end of the emergency period on December 31, 2021; additional funding for children’s hospital graduate medical education; and additional resources for testing, contact tracing, and vaccine development, among others. 

The package does not incorporate several provisions proposed earlier this year by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, including further increases to the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, prohibitions on implementation of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule, and workforce protections. With the November elections looming, U.S. House and Senate leaders are expected to begin negotiations on a compromise that reconciles the competing proposals. 



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