2017 Was a Very Busy Year!

December 31, 2017

With today’s “wrap-up” post, we will have posted 108 News Items in 2017!  And while some were multi-topical (the Friday  News dump type) the vast majority were in three areas:
  • News about the Legislative and Executive Branch issues and events,
  • News about National Congressional or Executive Branch Agency issues and events, or
  • News about miscellaneous topics that effect providers like CCCPlus, HCBS Self-Assessment, or VNPP activities.
There were, of course, a smattering of News Posts about the three DD Waivers, TDT, QMHP registration, WaMS, Human Rights Regulations and one commending DSPs.  We also noted the passing of Ray Burmeister, the Gartlan Award for Howard Cullum, the Governor’s Agency Star Award for Karen Kimsey, the change in leadership at both NAMI and The Arc of Virginia, and the appointments of both Tammy Whitlock and Ann Bevan to new positions at DMAS. On the Association front, it has also been a good year:
  • There were four “Interim Meetings” that were well attended and, by reports, informational,
  • The Fall Conference was sold out (we are booking additional space for next year!), and
  • We have started monthly Member’s Forum Calls which seems to be popular!
Our Legislative Agenda for this year, while not many items, will be consequential if successful!  If you are able to attend a Legislative Budget Hearing on 3 January, a mention of the need to improve the mental health outpatient services rates would be appreciated! So what can we expect in 2018:
  • In Washington – continued turmoil and acrimony,
  • In Virginia – challenging times with an evenly split or almost evenly split House of Delegates, a “new” administration working out the kinks and a renewed focus on Medicaid Expansion which continues to be a divisive issue.
  • At DMAS – release for comment and eventual publication the DD Waivers Final Regs and Manual, the first round of review and comment on the HCBS Self-Assessment, final steps in the CCCPlus rollout including the January 1st transition of CMHRS from Magellan to CCCPlus Health Plans and a significant focus on Medicaid Expansion
  • At DBHDS – continued focus on the steps needed to “realign” the financing of the mental health system, but mostly a concerted effort to reduce the MH Facility census, continued focus on the downsizing/closure of the Training Centers while avoiding significant missteps along the way, DOJ, quality measures for providers and trying to enforce the regulations in a consistent way, and continued steps toward the implementation of individual budgets for individuals in DD Waiver services and increased Departmental control and management.
  • For VNPP – we will watch closely and speak out when either the individuals we support or the providers who support them are at risk, we will try to communicate clearly and with well sourced material (No Fake News!), and we will make the provider community a visible factor to be considered when any decision is made!