A Bit of This and That for Saturday

November 14, 2020

  • The Governor has reimposed some restrictions to, hopefully, help to tamp down the COVID spread before it becomes as out of control in Virginia as it has in almost every other state.  We watch the Rt Rate which shows the number of people who will be infected by one positive person; any number above one indicates that the spread of the virus will grow, likewise, a number less than one shows a slowing spread.  In early September, the Rt for Virginia was < .95; it crossed the line to > 1 on September 23rd.  It is now 1.17.  Far better than the 2.4 rate at the end of February, but still a very disturbing trend that the Governor hopes to get under control.
  • We have word that apparently there is another round of “Termination Without Cause” letters going out from at least one of the MCOs.  We know that this is both within the rules under which the MCOs operate, and it is also to be expected.  While MCOs are required to have networks adequate to meet the needs of their members and provide access to services, they are also within their rights to terminate any contract for no reason.  Given the stress that most providers are already feeling due to the reduced revenue and increased costs of operating during a pandemic, we are interested in any insight members can provide on what impact a contract termination will have and whether or not this action will force closure.
  • The end of the Special Session, like the declaration the Joe Biden has won enough Electoral College votes to be the President-Elect, has not actually put an end to the discussion about the outcome!  The Governor has until midnight on 9 December to take final action on the budget.  The items we are particularly concerned about seem to be secure – there was little controversy about some of the items restored from the items previously approved in the biennial budget, such as the Refresh for DD Waiver Rates; the discussion has centered around distribution of the CARES Act funding which includes the Hazard Pay for Personal Care, Respite and Companion Aides and retainer payments for Group Day, Community Engagement and Community Coaching.  While the Governor does not relish interference in the distribution of the federal funds and the General Assembly feels strongly that they alone should control the purse, they will come to agreement.  In the meantime, the Governor did Press Releases on both the Hazard Pay and the Retainer Payments – a clear sign that they are both on track for imminent release.
  • DMAS is working hard on the mechanics of the distribution of both of the above – creating entirely new processes to get the money out as soon as possible.  It will be complicated, but it is a signal that we are finally recognized as having a legitimate need for support.
  • Last item on today’s list is word that some provider’s are still getting pressured by Licensing Specialists to confirm cash reserves when they seek a service modification; the purpose of a reserve is, of course, to provide the cash needed in the event of – oh, maybe a global pandemic!  To expect any provider to respond to all of the costs associated with COVID without dipping into their reserves shows how out of touch with reality some have become.