Virginia Legislative Advocacy
LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE IN 2021
*There will be no telehealth coverage for mental health under Medicaid. We, our lobbyist, Sue Roland, and the VSCSW board will be working to get it included in the next legislative session.
*The Legislature passed a bill that creates a Behavioral Health Commission. It’s purposes are to study and make recommendations for improvement of behavioral services and the behavioral services system in the Commonwealth.
*The legislature approved an amendment proposed by Government Ralph Northam that decriminalizes the possession by adults of a small amount of marijuana effective July 1, 2021....Selling, buying or driving with marijuana remains illegal at this time....Retail sales of marijuana will not begin until January 1, 2024. Many complex issues remain to be resolved as to who will be certified to sell the product, how an illicit market will be controlled, and what the limitations on purchasing will be.
*Virginia ended the death penalty.
*Virginia passed the Voting Rights Act of Virginia. Included in it are: the repeal of a voter identification law; the enactment of a 45 day no excuse absentee ballot voting period that permits early voting, made Election Day a holiday; and established a system for automatic voter registration for anyone who receives a Virginia driver’s license. The Virginia Voting Rights Act follows some of the provisions of the earlier federal law but applies to localities in the state to ensure that voting remains accessible. “The Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits discrimination in elections administration, requires local election officials to get feedback or pre-approval for voting changes, allows individuals to sue in cases of voter suppression and allows access to early voting on Sunday.
*Medicaid recipients can receive up to a 12-month prescription for birth control, increasing access to contraception for those who need it.
*Bills passed to remove the prohibition on abortion coverage in any qualified health insurance plan offered through the Virginia state-based exchange.
See News and Views, June, 2021, for additional information.
VIRGINIA LEGISLATION AND ADVOCACY COMMITTEE
The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work (which serves clinical social workers from Northern Virginia suburbs of DC) and the Virginia Society for Clinic Social Work (serving clinical social workers from the remainder of VA) collaborate on legislative and advocacy priorities concerning mental health issues and issues concerning the regulating and licensing of the business of clinical social work. We share the cost of our lobbyist, Sue Rowland, with the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work. Her role is to address the legislative concerns of both Societies and keep us apprised of proposed legislation that will affect our Virginia members and their clients. In order to work together effectively, the legislative committees meet with the lobbyist as needed and weekly when the Virginia Legislature is in session.
VIRGINIA REQUIREMENTS FOR TELE-HEALTH SESSIONS ACROSS STATE JURISDICTIONS
An email was written to the VBSW (access it at: Clarification on tele-health, jurisdiction, and license requirements (June 2021)) asking for clarification of the licensing rules for tele-health provided by Maryland or D.C. Licensees for residents of Virginia. The following response was received via email from Licensing Specialist Sharniece Vaughan. Please read the email and address any questions directly to Ms Vaughan. Note that this was written prior to June 30th, so the Emergency Order has ended. If you are providing clinical services to clients located in Virginia, you need to be licensed in Virginia NOW! The Board can be contacted at the phone number and web address listed below.
BOARD OF SOCIAL WORK The Board will cease making hard-copy licenses, certifications and registrations. During the next renewal, a final hard copy will be issued that contains no expiration date. The renewal period for the Board of Social Work will begin in early May and the Board will send out email notices at that time. This final copy should be maintained, carried or posted in accordance with relevant applicable laws and regulations. State health regulatory boards, insurance providers and citizens seeking verification of current licensure status in the Commonwealth of Virginia may obtain this information via “License Lookup”.
VBSW LICENSING REQUIREMENTS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Finally, this is most important: It is the responsibility of those members who hold a Virginia license to be knowledgeable about the CURRENT regulations of the VBSW. Not knowing is not an excuse! The regulations do change. The regulations define the rules of practice and are legally enforced by the Virginia Board of Social Work. When new regulations are proposed they can be viewed in the “Town Hall” section of the VBSW website. There is always a period for public comment on proposed regulations.
Web address for the Virginia Board of Social Work: www.dhp.Virginia.gov/social
Email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main phone number for VBSW is : 804-367-4441