Our View of the Legislature: Budget

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dLCV is here to educate policy makers, and especially to advance independence, choice and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation.

The 2021 session of the General Assembly continues as lawmakers vote on hundreds of bills and consider amendments to the Virginia state budget, which was presented to the public by Governor Ralph Northam in December. The budget under consideration is to amend the state’s operating budget for the balance of the current state budget year, Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, which ends on June 30, and also the next budget year, FY 2022, which begins on July 1.  As the executive of state government, it is the Governor’s responsibility, along with his cabinet secretaries and state agency directors, to develop the state budget.  The budget is introduced in the General Assembly as a bill (the “budget bill”), with one bill introduced in the House and one in the Senate. Both houses make amendments to their respective budget bills, and before the end of the General Assembly session, must come together to resolve differences before their approved budget is returned to the Governor for review and amendment after the session adjourns. To view the full budget, check out the House budget bill, House Bill 1800, and the Senate budget bill, Senate Bill 1100.

The following are some budget amendments recently approved by the House and Senate relating to issues important to people with disabilities. Clicking the hyperlinks below will take you to the page on the state budget website where you can find more information about that particular amendment.

Medicaid Budget Amendments

  • Add 650 Waiver Slots to Address the Priority One Waitlist: Senate Amendment 313 #4s.  This amendment would provide $21.49M (million) in FY22 for 650 additional Family and Individual Support waiver slots in order to address the Priority One waiting list.
  • Permanent Continuation of Developmental Disability Waiver Telehealth Services: House Amendment 313 #18h.  This is a “language-only” amendment, meaning no funding is need. This amendment requires the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to submit a waiver modification request to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for approval to continue supporting telehealth and virtual learning options in the Community Living, Family and Individual Services and Building Independence Waivers. This amendment is designed to seek federal approval to make those services available permanently.
  • Increase Reimbursement Rates for Consumer-Directed Personal and Respite Care: Senate Amendment 313 #1s. This amendment would increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates for agency- and consumer-directed personal care, respite and companion services in the home and community-based services waivers and the Early Periodic Screening, and Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program.  Provides $12.6M for FY21 and $121.6M for FY22.
  • Medicaid Rate Increase for Personal Care Services: House Amendment 313 #11h.  This amendment provides $74.8M in FY22 to increase the average reimbursement rate for personal care, respite and companionship services provided in waiver programs to ensure compliance with the state’s minimum wage.
  • Paid Sick Leave for Personal Care Attendants: House Amendment 313 #13h. This amendment would provide paid sick leave to Medicaid providers of consumer-directed personal, respite or companion care, pursuant to the passage of House Bill 2137.  Provides $6.88M in FY22.
  • Increase the Income Eligibility Limit for Medicaid Works: These amendments would increase the income eligibility for participation in the Medicaid Works Program to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Current eligibility for the Medicaid Works Program is 80 percent of the FPL and was not adjusted to 138 percent of FPL when Medicaid Expansion was implemented.
  • Support Payments for Medicaid Developmental Disability Waiver Providers Affected by COVIDSenate Amendment 314 #1s. This amendment provides $15M in FY21 to provide support payments to Medicaid Developmental Disability Waiver providers that have experienced a significant disruption in operations and revenue during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Budget Amendments

  • Services for Individuals with Dementia to Prevent Psychiatric Hospitalization:  These amendments provide funding to support interdisciplinary dementia care management for 50 Virginia residents diagnosed with dementia who are hospitalized in the state psychiatric hospitals operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).
  • Development of a Program to Implement Supported Decision-making AgreementsHouse Amendment 320 #1h.  This amendment would provide $300,000 in FY22 for DBHDS to hire a staff person to implement the provisions of HB 2230. If passed, HB 2230 would require DBHDS to develop a program to educate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and others regarding the availability of supported decision-making agreements.
  • Restore Funding for Pilot Programs for State Facility Census ReductionSenate Amendment 320 #6s. This amendment provides $3.7M in FY22 for “alternative inpatient options” to state psychiatric hospital care through the establishment of two-year pilot projects to reduce census pressures on state hospitals.

Brain Injury Services Amendments

  • Expand the Availability of Brain Injury Services: Theses amendments would increase contracts with community-based brain injury service providers to provide for salary cost increases, to address existing case management waiting lists, enhance virtual programming, expand partnerships, and other related costs.

Please let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following.  Contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.   Please continue to check back here for regular updates on developments in the legislature.