The Coalition is committed to monitoring state and federal legislation that impacts access to oral health services for Virginians. Here are a few key issues we are focused on now.
View this webinar for a review of our 2017 legislative priorities.
Medicaid Expansion. Virginia remains one of the few states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage to provide insurance for nearly 400,000 Virginians. Governor McAuliffe did not include funds for Medicaid expansion in his biennial 2016-2018 budget; however, VaOHC supports future opportunities to expand Medicaid to provide comprehensive health coverage to underserved Virginians and bring millions of dollars to the commonwealth.
Dental Hygienists Under Remote Supervision (HB 1474, Orrock). This legislation amends and reenacts a bill authorizing dental hygienists to practice, with certain requirements and restrictions, under remote supervision of a licensed dentist. The legislation is intended to allow more hygienists to work remotely in safety net settings (FQHCs, free clinics, and others). This legislation relates to the oral health plan goal, "The oral health workforce in Virginia adequately meets the needs of its citizens by working to the full extent of their education and training." This legislation is supported by both the Virginia Dental Hygienists' Association and the Virginia Dental Association.
FAMIS Funding Renewal. FAMIS will run out of funding at the end of September 2017. Known as the Children's Health Insurance Program or "CHIP" in DC, in Virginia, FAMIS provides affordable medical, dental and mental health coverage for more than 104,000 children and 4,600 pregnant women. The Coalition is joining with national and state partners to advocate at the federal level to ensure those covered under Virginia's FAMIS program do not lose access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. Given the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, protecting FAMIS is more important than ever. Our friends at the Children's Dental Health Project have a blog post that provides more details.
Analyzing Health Policy Proposals. Many of the changes the new administration and Congress are likely to consider for Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA could have significant ramifications on medical, dental and mental health coverage for Virginians. We will continue to work at the state and federal levels to educate policy makers about the health and economic value of affordable and accessible comprehensive health care, analyze policy proposals, and advocate to ensure comprehensive health care is accessible, affordable and inclusive of oral health. Our friends at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Manatt do a terrific job of outlining some potential policy changes.