Virginia General Assembly
Each year a multitude of policy issues that affect dentistry are considered and debated by the United States Congress and General Assembly of Virginia. These are issues that affect your livelihood in the dental profession as well as the patients that you serve. The Association’s legislative strength is proportional to the number of members involved. Strength lies in numbers! We encourage you to become involved in the Association’s legislative activities on a national and state level to ensure that legislators make decisions that are in the best interest of the profession and dental patients.
VDA's 2018 General Assembly Wrap Up
*Note – March 10th the General Assembly Adjourned Sine Die without producing a budget. Therefore, a Special Session will be called in the days ahead to work on a deal for the biennial budget.
- MILITARY TRAINED DENTISTS. Passed as amended House 100-0 and Senate 40-0. A bill (HB533-Freitas) that requires many Boards, including the Board of Dentistry, to accept the military training, education, or experience of a service member honorably discharged from active military was AMENDED to put our language back in about such instances. The original bill struck the language below but we convinced the patron to put it back in – so this is the status quo moving forward:
- C. The Board of Dentistry may accept the military training, education, or experience of a service member provided the applicant for licensure (i) has been honorably discharged from active military service in the armed forces of the United States, (ii) has been in continuous clinical practice for four of the six years immediately preceding the application for licensure, (iii) holds a diploma or certificate of a dental program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, and (iv) has successfully completed all required examinations for licensure. Active patient care in the Dental Corps of the United States armed forces, voluntary practice in a public health clinic, or practice in an intern or residency program may be accepted by the Board to satisfy requirements for licensure.
- BALANCE BILLING. Legislation (HB1584-Byron) designed to prohibit an out-of-network health care provider from charging a covered person who is insured through a health plan an amount for ancillary services that is greater than the allowed amount the carrier is obligated to pay to the covered person DID NOT PASS. We had several conversations with the patron and it was not her intent to ensnare dentists in the legislation and was prepared to take dentists out of it with an amendment we prepared before the legislation was carried over in committee. There are going to be meetings in the off-season to discuss the broader issue of balance billing. We will be part of those discussions and ensure nothing happens to jeopardize dentists’ ability to balance bill. A resolution in the Senate (SJ57-Sturtevant) asking JLARC to study the issue of balance billing was NOT PASSED.
- BUDGET ISSUE – MOM FUNDING. The Governor’s introduced budget has $116,280 in each year of the biennium for MOM funding. We have talked to legislators to ensure this stays in the final budget and possibly add some additional monies to help with costs in at the Wise MOM -- $25,000. The MOM project has gotten frequent praise from both sides of the aisle in recent years.
- BUDGET ISSUE – ADULT DENTAL MEDICAID. There was a budget amendment in both the House and Senate to allow for adult dental Medicaid. These were put in at the request of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition NOT the VDA. Not surprisingly this idea made it into neither the amended Senate budget nor the amended House budget.
- BUDGET ISSUE – MEDICAID EXPANSION. As noted above, the General Assembly adjourned without a budget for the next two years. The standoff between the House and Senate is primarily over expanding Medicaid to over 300,000 more Virginians. The House version of the budget has expansion, whereas the Senate version does not. If ultimately the sides agree to take down some Federal dollars and add Virginians to the Medicaid rolls, more people could be eligible for dental Medicaid (i.e., kids in the Smiles for Children program, some disabled populations and pregnant women). The actual numbers will be determined by a number of factors that will need to be analyzed.
How You Can Help
Here are three ways you can enhance the efforts of those who attended the Day on the Hill via the VDA's Virtual Day on the Hill.
- Email or mail a personal note to your legislators with a copy of the VDA's information.
- Request a meeting with your legislators and meet with them when they are back in the district. Share the VDA information with them during the meeting.
- Call your legislators' offices and ask to speak with an aide or assistant to share some information on the VDA over the phone.
Need Assistance on finding your legislators and contacting them?
More Information on Advocating in Virginia
A helpful "Citizens Guide" can be found online here: https://www.vpap.org/general-assembly/citizens-guide/