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Governor Signs Bills into Law, Critical to Combating the Commonwealth’s Opioid & Heroin Abuse Epidemic
Governor Terence “Terry” McAuliffe proudly holds SB 287 in hand, Senator Wexton, pictured right of Governor McAuliffe, carried the measure which greatly improves reporting time to the prescription monitoring program (PMP), the state’s database for all controlled substance prescriptions.
The Commonwealth’s opiate and heroin use epidemic has exceeded statistics, once thought unfathomable by today’s public health analysts. In 2013, fatal drug overdose became the number one method of unnatural death, with 1,013 Virginian lives lost in the Commonwealth, it has surpassed both motor vehicle-related fatalities and gun-related fatalities combined (Virginia Department of Health, 2015).
The Virginia Association of Health Plans was proud to support legislation introduced by the Governor’s Opiate and Heroin Task Force in an attempt to curtail this epidemic and address it as a public health crisis. The Association also supported two additional legislative initiatives, the Governor’s budget request for additional substance use disorder services under the Medicaid benefit and a bill to allow clinical teams employed by the Medicaid Managed Care company, to access to the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database, in order to prevent, better manage and care for Medicaid beneficiaries struggling with addiction.
This year’s champions from the Office of Health and Human Resource (HHR) and respective agencies, pictured from right to left; Deputy Secretary of HHR Pam Kestner, Delegate Herring, who carried HB 293, Jodi Manz, HHR staff and champion of the Governor’s Opiate and Heroin Abuse Task Force, Commissioner of Virginia Department of Health, Dr. Marissa Levine, Director of the Department of Health Professions, David Brown and our own Director of Medicaid Innovation, Stephanie Lynch.
Delegate John O’Bannon, pictured at the podium, championed this issue and played a strong role on the Governor’s Opiate and Heroin Task Force. He carried HB 657, a measure to allow the state to take authoritative action against prescribers that appear to be engaged in abusive prescribing behavior.
VAHP is proud to play a supporting role in improving the lives of Virginia’s individuals and families struggling with addiction. We will continue to help shape effective public policy, promote effective population health management practices and use our data to educate the public about this important bi-partisan issue.
See below for a list of additional resources that may be helpful to individuals and families struggling with addiction:
The Virginia Association of Health Plans
Presentations from VAHP’s 2016 Annual Meeting Now Available for Members
Thank you to our speakers, honored guests, generous sponsors, affiliate and health plan members for your support and participation in this year’s Annual Meeting
Honored Guests, Marilyn Tavenner, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) & Mark Pratt, Senior Vice President, State Affairs, AHIP pictured with Executive Director, Doug Gray.
Presentations & Materials
This year we were fortunate to have a wonderful variety of renowned speakers and expert panelists that focused on the industry’s trending topics. Speakers delivered presentations on topics ranging from Substance Use Disorder, Complex and Chronic Care Management, Emergency Room Diversion Projects, Pharmaceutical Management and more.
VAHP Members can enjoy access to our 2016 presentations and meeting materials by clicking here.
Honored Guests Robert ‘Bob’ Brink, Senior Legislative Advisor to Governor Terence R. McAuliffe, Cindi Jones, Director of Medical Assistance Service and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. William Hazel joined VAHP on Wednesday’s Medicaid Managed Care portion of the Annual Meeting.
If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for our Fall Forum or next Annual Meeting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support, see you next year!
Our Fall Forum, held on Nov. 9-10, 2015, kicked off with an all-attendee reception following a meeting of the Board of Directors on Mon., Nov. 9 at the Williams Mullen Center, Richmond. On Tue., Nov. 10 attendees met in the Virginia Capitol to receive updates on Governor McAuliffe’s Opiate and Heroin Abuse Task Force; the Provider Assessment Workgroup; and the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) Workgroup.
Attendees then participated in a discussion of national trends in health care followed by a look at Virginia’s post-election landscape, changes in and anticipated health care legislation in preparation for the 2016 General Assembly Session. Lunch and a tour of the Capitol rounded out the Fall Forum.
VAHP, MSV, VCHI & VHHA Host Special Session, ‘Innovations in Behavioral Health’
This summer we were proud to continue our conversation on integrated behavioral health during a collaborative event hosted by VAHP, Medicaid Society of Virginia, Virginia Center for Health Innovation and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. We were joined by Secretary Bill Hazel, Deputy Secretary Joe Flores and Jennifer Lee, Medicaid Director, Cindi Jones, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) Commissioner Ferguson and Dr. Benjamin Miller, Director of the University of Colorado’s Office for Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy. Session attendees included health plan representatives, leaders in the behavioral health provider space, many hospital system representatives and other executive level players in the field. Commissioner Ferguson presented on a new grant opportunity for the Commonwealth and visions for the future of community mental health. Dr. Miller presented on innovative concepts for embedding behavioral health in Primary Care Practices and explored comprehensive payment models. There was a productive and insightful Q&A session, which gave attendees the opportunity to share ideas and take advantage of Dr. Miller’s and Commissioner Ferguson’s expertise.
We take great pride in Virginia’s Health Plans for their work in this area and look forward to continuing the conversation on integrated behavioral health. For Links to the presentations given during the session, see our list below:
People Helping People: The Virginia RAM (Remote Area Medical) Clinic
The RAM Clinic is an international endeavor, but there is none quite as large as the event held every summer, since 1999, in Wise Co. Virginia. Serving over 2,000 people in less than 72 hours- the RAM clinic is a collaborative effort between several groups and organizations to provide medical, dental and vision care for those in attendance. Patients travel from all over to receive these health care services. Many of the patients are from the coal counties of Southwest Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. This region is home to some of the most medically under-served populations in the state. This year, VAHP, along with several Health Plans volunteered their time, resources and staff to serve some of the region’s neediest families.
- This year, RAM kicked off their three-day weekend event with a historic drone delivery. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the first delivery of medical supplies via drone in the United States.
- Over 2 million dollars of free care was delivered, including many volunteer hours and free give-aways offered by some of Virginia’s Health Plans.
- Several lives were saved this year, including a woman with a painful tubal pregnancy, a patient who suffered a heart attack and many more patients who screened positive for life threatening cancers. In most of these cases, follow up care will be provided at no cost.
- There were over 100 volunteers from various Health Plans, who brought both their clinical teams, outreach and operations staff to contribute their time to the event.
Bright smiles seen from Team Anthem, pictured above. Volunteers were there as early as 4 am to assist patients with registration, triage and patient escort.
INTotal Health’s Nurses, seen above, up bright and early to help triage patients to the correct services. Triage nurses were on the front lines, helping to identify the most urgent medical needs this weekend.
A VCU Health System volunteer reviews this family’s medical charts in one of the many makeshift medical examination tents that were set up using sheets and clothespins.
State agencies also hosted promotional booths for various human services programs, to include CoverVA, the Commonwealth’s “no wrong door” health coverage enrollment program. VAHP’s Director of Medicaid Innovation, Stephanie Lynch, is pictured above with CoverVA’s outreach team.
The most popular service this year was Dental, topping off at over 1,000 patients served. A mobile denture crafting shop was set up to equip patients with new teeth. Many patients returning this year had the majority of their teeth extracted at RAM the year before. They had waited a whole year without teeth to come back to RAM to receive these much needed dentures.
Team Virginia Premier, pictured above their game tent- had a healthy twist this year! Handing out freeze pops and other useful prizes to event-goers, this fun bunch helped to add some comic relief and bring smiles to patients and their families.
INTotal’s brightest smiles were out to help deliver ‘swag bags’ that included much needed health related goodies. The ‘swag,’ or free branded merchandise that Health Plans bring to the RAM clinic each year are some of the highest demand items with patients. They include everything from school supply items to toothpaste.
We were both proud and happy to be apart of such a truly uplifting and helpful mission. Thank you RAM Clinic for all that you do to deliver health care to our most needy and under-served Virginians!