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
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
Steps 3 and 4: Sign up more Virginians for the Federal
Marketplace, Medicaid, and FAMIS.
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
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
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
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.
is Virginia's health insurance program for children.