Judy Ratliff and Wayne Martin, Co-Chairs, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee
YOUR VIRGINIA LEGISLATIVE AND ADVOCACY COMMITTEE AT WORK FOR YOU
The Virginia Legislature has just completed a 30 day session and will begin a special session on February 9. In order to identify bills that will impact us and our clients. Our lobbyist, Sue Rowland, reviews all the bills and sends daily updates to Wayne Martin, my co-chair, me, and Rick Goodling and Joe Lynch from the Virginia Society of Clinical Social Work (VSCSW). The four of us met with Sue twice a week on Zoom since the legislative session began. We will continue to meet to monitor the passage of pertinent bills through the special session.
BILLS HB 1987 AND SB 1338 PERTAIN TO EXTENSION OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR TELEHEALTH
These bills pertain only to Medicaid recipients and not to private insurance. The bills cover NO mental health diagnoses and only a few physical diagnoses. I have written to my delegate, Ken Plum, who is one of the sponsors of the House Bill, inquiring as to why mental health was excluded but I have not yet had a reply.
Both societies and our lobbyist know that extension of telehealth coverage for our clients is very important, as are other insurance concerns. Therefore, our group has decided to continue our meetings on a less frequent basis to deal with insurance-related other concerns.
LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA is very complicated and will probably not pass this year. According to Delegate Ken Plum, BILLS PENDING this session include repealing mandatory minimum sentencing, ending felony possession for drugs, reforming the broken probation system, instituting automatic expungement of criminal records, establishing pay parity for public defenders, ending presumption against bail, and eliminating the death penalty.
Another benefit of the collaboration between the two societies is that both groups benefit from reciprocity for continuing education classes. Members in each Society can enroll in classes for the member cost. Please take advantage of this opportunity to extend your options for free or lower cost CEs.
COVID 19 TESTING, VACCINATIONS AND UPDATES
Wayne and I urge Virginia members to subscribe to the email lists for newsletters from your county supervisors, the head of your county Board of Supervisors and your Virginia delegate and senator. These emails are "chock full" of information as to testing and vaccinations sites, updates and other important information. Just put "constituent" in the subject line and request to receive their newsletters.
Judy Ratliff, LCSW, (recently retired from work but not from GWSCSW or from life). She is the Co-Chair, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA 22463 | 202-478-7638 | firstname.lastname@example.org