ADEA State Update

Governor of Virginia Launches Healthy Virginia Plan

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On September 8, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) announced his 10-step plan to expand health care services to over 200,000 Virginians. Following the Virginia General Assembly’s failure, during legislative and special sessions, to pass legislation expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Gov. McAuliffe is optimistic that this plan will move health care forward in the Commonwealth. The 10-step plan, called A Healthy Virginia, is briefly outlined below.  

Step 1: Covering people with serious mental illness.   
The Governor will launch the Governor’s Access Plan, or GAP, which will provide medical and behavioral health care to approximately 20,000 uninsured Virginians with severe mental illness. 

Step 2: Improve the coordination of care for adults and children who are already covered by Medicaid and have a serious mental illness.
The Governor is authorizing the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to issue regulations to establish health homes for individuals with severe mental illness.[1]

Steps 3 and 4: Sign up more Virginians for the Federal Marketplace, Medicaid, and FAMIS.[2]  
The Governor will leverage federal and state resources to help enroll an additional 35,000 children in FAMIS and 160,000 people in the federal marketplace for health insurance. 

Step 5: Open up FAMIS for eligible state workers to insure their children.
The Governor is directing DMAS to issue an emergency regulation making FAMIS available to the children of lower-income state workers. 

Step 6: Provide dental benefits to pregnant women in Medicaid and FAMIS.
The Governor is directing DMAS to issue emergency regulations to provide comprehensive dental coverage to 45,000 pregnant women in Medicaid and FAMIS. According to the 10-step plan, “Adding dental coverage for pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid or FAMIS MOMS will reduce the prevalence of preterm birth, cut down on emergency dental expenditures and decrease the state’s cost of dental care for children.”

The plan notes that currently, “Virginia has 45,000 pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid and FAMIS MOMS. Without access to comprehensive dental care, these women risk having dental health issues go undiagnosed and untreated, needlessly putting their unborn babies in jeopardy. Pregnant women with periodontal disease may be up to eight times more likely to deliver prematurely.”

Step 7: Launch an innovative new website to inform Virginians of their coverage options and help them enroll.
To make it easier to apply for coverage, a new and improved Cover Virginia website will be launched by this November. 

Step 8: Accelerating access to quality health care for our veterans.
Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey will lead Virginia's efforts to take full advantage of legislation signed by President Obama that made $10 billion in federal money available to veterans to seek health care outside the VA system if they have barriers to access. 

Step 9: Take bold actions to reduce deaths from prescription drug and heroin abuse.
Last year, more Virginians died of overdose than were killed in car accidents. The prescription drug problem has reached a crisis in Virginia, where some county death rates are the highest in the entire nation. 

Step 10: Aggressively pursue Federal grants that can bring new dollars into Virginia for health care.
The Governor has directed his staff to pursue every federal grant currently available for health care and innovation. 

[1] These health homes are not physical spaces, but instead are a model of care in which all of an individual’s primary, acute, behavioral and long-term care services are coordinated and integrated.

[2] FAMIS is Virginia's health insurance program for children.

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