Update on the Session!

August 27, 2020

There is still not much clarity, but as far as we know:

  • In addition to the budget items we listed earlier in the week, there are also the following –
    • 138 #1h — In-Home CSA and DMAS-funded Services for K-12 Students (language only) which requires school divisions to report when a service that would be funded through CSA or DMAS cannot be provided in-home to a student receiving remote instruction due to school closures so that gaps can be identified and services can be made available.
    • 300 #1h — Require medical facilities to allow designated persons to accompany or visit disabled patients (language only) which mirrors and broadens our recently negotiated agreement with VHHA; there are a couple of technical issues, but this would add weight to the agreement which is currently in place.
  • There are a number of bills requiring paid leave – all have some issue of concern (conflict with the FFCRA definitions, or unfunded mandate that is not included in the Medicaid fee structure) – while we support individuals being treated fairly and not working when they are sick or need to care for others, we still face challenges in providing care for the individuals we are challenged to support!
  • There are also a number of variations (introduced bills or budget amendments) that will mandate a crisis response by a mental health professional in lieu of a law enforcement response for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.  Some include persons with developmental disabilities such as autism.  It is absolutely clear that this is the far better way to handle these crisis situations, it is equally clear that implementation will be challenging from a staffing perspective, from a clinical perspective and from a fiscal perspective.  We are likely, once more, mandating something that has not been fully vetted or funded and setting ourselves up to be frustrated when it does not prevent the next incident!

We do not know what the Session schedule will bring – hard to predict when we will have answers.