The disAbility Law Center of Virginia’s mission is 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. One of the programs that we operate is to assist people with disabilities to access services or funding for necessary assistive technology, including things like durable medical equipment and communications devices.
As a result, we are monitoring bills that would have an impact on funding and access to critical equipment. Some of those bills and budget amendments include:
HB 1047 (Tran) establishes rights for students who need augmentative and alternative communication devices, and sets training, instruction, and eligibility standards. The bill specifically prohibits the use of an IQ test to determine a student’s need for AAC at school. This morning, the bill was heavily debated in the Early Childhood subcommittee of the House Committee on Education, with strong opposition from schools. The subcommittee held off making any decision about the bill until they reconvene this evening.
HB 1246 (Tran) requires the Department of Education develop guidelines about accessible digital tools used in student instruction and requires all purchases after September 1, 2022 to comply with those guidelines. This is a bill that was requested by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. This morning, the bill was heavily debated in the Early Childhood subcommittee of the House Committee on Education, with strong opposition from schools. The subcommittee held off making any decision about the bill until they reconvene this evening.
You can watch this evening’s subcommittee hearing by clicking here.
Medicaid funding for wheelchairs in nursing facilities – HB 241 (Adams) would add this coverage to the state Medicaid plan. Proposed budget amendments in the House from Delegate Adams (Item 304#40h) and in the Senate from Senator Barker (Item 304#10s) would provide the funding for the coverage. The House legislation was approved by the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, but was temporarily tabled in a House Appropriations subcommittee.
SB 405 (Barker) requires health insurers to cover prosthetic devices. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and referred to the Committee on Finance.
We are available to educate policy makers about the potential impact of legislative proposals and budgetary considerations. Please let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.