Talking Points – Time To Go Talk!

January 29, 2022

Budget Issues:

  • Our inability to recruit and retain a qualified workforce controls almost everything that we do; while it is not the only solution, increasing the rate paid for services substantially will allow providers to be more competitive in the workforce marketplace.
  • We support the “rebase” as published for all of the Waiver Services and the continuation of the 12.5% temporary ARPA funding for behavioral health services not included in the “rebase” report.
  • We also support restoring as much flexibility as possible for DD Waiver group home setting by lifting the newly imposed 6-bed limit.
  • Recognizing both the delay in release of the FY22 slots (which should be allocated this week to the CSBs to begin the assignment process) and the fact that 1 in 8 of the individuals with FY21 slots are still unable to find services, we support the rather modest number of new slots proposed. 
  • We support continuation of virtual flexibilites developed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, but are reluctant to support a permanent option allowing Medicaid funding for consumer-directed services provided by members of the immediate family.

Legislative Issues:

  • We do not support the various attempts to cap the code mandated minimum wage at $11/hour.  The workforce market is extremely competitive (look at the ads for the Hershey’s Chocolate factory in Augusta County which is advertising starting wages at $25/hr!); Hershey’s can raise prices to cover the cost, providers who depend on Medicaid can not!  The minimum wage requirements in the Code of Virginia are the only leverage we have to receive rates which will allow us to be competitive.
  • We do not support the paid leave mandates; many if not most providers have a paid leave benefit in place and it is a benefit which helps us to be competitive in recruitment/retention.  Not only would the mandates remove that advantage, but they are all administratively complex and burdensome.
  • We do support any movement to minimize the scope/impact of the criminal background checks; not only are they overly broad, but the process is time consuming and a “barrier” to recruitment.
  • We also support SB100 which allows clear recognition of the individual’s right to have a DNR order, especially when in hospice care.