By Lauren Schmitt
Reforming Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need program continues to be one of VOS’s top priorities. We are excited to announce we received a $15,000 grant from AAOS to manage a COPN reform coalition with our fellow stakeholders. We will create a COPN reform website and use a grassroots activation system for contacting legislators. Be on the lookout for our website launch in the next few weeks!
We ended last session by making significant progress in our COPN efforts. A bill that would have deregulated certain aspects of COPN in three phases passed the House of Delegates. However, the legislation stalled in the Senate. Many Senators will only support deregulation if there is money for the hospitals attached to it. The House Republicans have made it clear they will not support any type of additional funding for the hospitals in exchange for deregulation. The session ended with reform legislation we supported, sponsored by Delegate John O’Bannon, being carried over to the 2017 session. In addition, a joint Senate and House workgroup has been assigned to address COPN policy in the interim. However, that group has yet to have its first meeting.
A recent poll was conducted that asked Virginians about healthcare and specifically the issue of COPN. The results are overwhelmingly in our favor and show that a majority of Virginians believe that COPN regulations go too far. We have been meeting with legislators and discussing the results of the poll with them. It also shows that when it comes to healthcare, voters in Virginia are most concerned with cost and how to lower their own healthcare costs. We plan to use the results of this poll when advocating for COPN reform next session.
We will be working on several deregulation bills again next session. Delegate Peter Farrell has already filed legislation that would remove the COPN requirement for psychiatric beds. We will support this bill and other bills that attempt to deregulate any of the COPN program. We will keep you updated as the 2017 legislative session approaches. We are excited to once more focus our efforts on eliminating this antiquated program!
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC) at its August 19 meeting selected Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting to perform the “Actuarial Services to Develop Workers’ Compensation Fee Schedules for Medical Services”. Oliver Wyman will collect data, construct proposed schedules, and advise the Commission on implementation of the fee schedule in accordance with new law’s “reimbursement objective”. Oliver Wyman was the consensus recommendation of the Medical Fee Schedule Regulatory Advisory Panel, a diverse group of stakeholder representatives, which reviewed the bids.
Over several months the VWCC and Oliver Wyman will construct a unique fee schedule for health care services provided to injured workers covered by Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws. That fee schedule will be promulgated as regulations in 2017 for public scrutiny and input. The fee schedule is to be implemented on January 1, 2018.
Timely and robust input from physician practices, surgery centers, and other providers will be critical for the actuaries to create an accurate schedule and “test” their proposal in the field. We are seeking physician practices and ASCs interested in participating. Oliver Wyman demonstrated a commitment to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the legislative intent was honored. The “reimbursement objective” set forth in the new law is to create a schedule that accurately reflects average payment for work comp services provided in 2014-15 in geographic regions for several categories of providers.
The first meeting of the Advisory Panel and Oliver Wyman team will be September 1. Contact Cal Whitehead atfor questions about the process or how to participate.
To access the new law, visit this link.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and the International Workers’ Compensation Foundation are presenting their 2016 Educational Conference October 19-20 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The sessions are designed to educate employers, health care providers, insurance carriers, and claimant attorneys about Virginia’s laws and environment. There will be added focus on the impact of fee schedules on all stakeholders at this year’s conference.
There are sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities. All information about the scheduling and registration can be found here.
Republican Donald Trump’s upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton for the U.S. presidency instantly changed the dynamic of Virginia’s upcoming gubernatorial and other state races. Clinton’s Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine will return to the U.S. Senate where he has already said he wants to stay, effectively launching his 2018 re-election campaign. Terry McAuliffe, who was speculated to take a high-level post in a Clinton Administration, will stay in the governor’s mansion. Congressman Bobby Scott, considered a leading candidate to be appointed by Governor McAuliffe to fill Senator Kaine’s seat had Kaine been elected Vice President, will remain in the House of Representatives.
Ralph Northam will also serve out his term as Lieutenant Governor instead of being elevated to Governor had McAuliffe joined the Clinton Administration, denying Northam a high-profile incumbency as he seeks to succeed McAuliffe who cannot run for a second consecutive term under Virginia’s constitution. However, Virginia has historically elected a governor of the opposite party occupying the White House (with the recent exception of Democrat McAuliffe, elected during President Obama’s term). With Trump ushering in a Republican presidency, Northam may look to Virginia’s political history as he potentially faces GOP presumed front-runner Ed Gillespie, should he win the June 2017 primary against at least three other challengers seeking the nomination, including Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart, state Senator Frank Wagner and U.S. Representative Rob Wittman.
In Virginia’s open congressional seats, as expected Delegate Scott Taylor (R-Va Beach) won in the second District, state Senator Donald McEachin (D-Richmond/Henrico) won in the fourth District and state Senator Tom Garrett (R-Louisa) won in the fifth District. These victories create openings in their respective General Assembly seats that candidates are already lining up to fill. In House District 85 (Taylor), Republican “Rocky” Holcomb is expected to square off against Democrat Cheryl Turpin. In Senate District nine (McEachin), sitting Delegate Jennifer McClellan has declared her candidacy; if elected her House seat would then become vacant and some Richmond public officials are expressing interest. In Senate District 22 (Garrett), Republicans Mark Peake and Goochland County Supervisor Ken Peterson have filed. Stay tuned as special elections and the state-wide general elections unfold in Virginia.
For more information on Virginia politics, please contact us or visit www.vpap.org.
Please make your annual investment in professional advocacy with a contribution to ORTHO-PAC. Donations to our political action committee allow us to support candidates and incumbents who share our ideas for fostering a better environment for orthopaedic medical care delivery. Make a contribution today!