By Lauren B. Schmitt
Senior Manager of Government Affairs
Commonwealth Strategy Group
2017 Virginia Election Recap
Yesterday’s elections resulted in a seismic shift in Virginia’s political landscape. While pundits were projecting a likely Democratic sweep of the statewide offices, no one was projecting that Democrats could pick up between 15 and 17 seats in the House of Delegates.
As predicted, the Democrats swept the statewide races. The Democratic nominee, Ralph Northam, defeated the Republican nominee, Ed Gillespie by almost nine percentage points. Justin Fairfax (D) beat Senator Jill Vogel (R) by 5 percentage points and Mark Herring (D) was re-elected as Attorney General over John Adams (R) by six and one half percentage points. While the margins in those elections were much bigger than anticipated, the real surprise last night was in the House of Delegates.
House of Delegates
Republicans went into the elections yesterday with a 66-34 majority in the House of Delegates. But after yesterday’s election results, it appears the Democrats have picked up 16 seats. According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), the House of Delegates is tentatively at a 50-50 split, but with four races qualifying for a recount. Thirteen Republican incumbents lost their seats and three open seats flipped from Republican to Democrat. The last time there was an even split in the House of Delegates was in 1998. At that time, they struck power sharing agreement, which included co-chairs of committees. However, with four seats solidly in the .5% to 1% recount zone, the final vote count could easily shift. Stay tuned!
Republican Incumbents Who Lost Seats: (13)
Delegate Randy Minchew
Delegate Joseph Yost
Delegate Bob Marshall
Delegate Ron Villanueva
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter
Delegate Tag Greason
Delegate Tim Hugo
Delegate Jackson Miller
Delegate Rich Anderson
Delegate Jim LeMunyon
Delegate Manoli Loupassi
Delegate John O’Bannon
Delegate Rocky Holcomb
Open Seats Previously Held by Republican and Won by a Democrat: (3)
District 2 (formerly Delegate Mark Dudenhefer)
District 42 (formerly Delegate Dave Albo)
District 72 (formerly Delegate Jimmie Massie)
Four Seats Qualify for Recount (less than 1% difference in votes)
Delegate Roxann Robinson (re-elected by 0.44%)
Delegate David Yancey (re-elected by 0.05 %- 12 votes)
District 28 (Former Speaker Howell’s district); Republican Bill Thomas elected by 0.365
Delegate Tim Hugo (defeated by 0.22%)
The transition for Governor-elect Northam will begin immediately, but we expect a smooth transition because they are of the same party and Northam was the Lieutenant Governor. For full election results, please visit www.vpap.org.
Have you joined the ORTHO-PAC 250 campaign yet? Route 250 leads you right to Virginia’s Capitol. Our current balance is $8,085. However, most of that is already pledged to candidates. We only have $1,735 left to spend. This is painfully low compared to other physician-specialty PACs. We are encouraging every VOS member to contribute at least $250. Please encourage your colleagues to make a contribution today.
Virginia physicians and other providers should prepare for implementation of the statutory medical fee schedules (MFS) that will dictate reimbursements beginning January 1, 2018. Virginia will join the vast majority of other states that use a fee schedule for workers' compensation care.
The fee schedules were created pursuant to Virginia law adopted in 2016 requiring the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWC) to create schedules for the reimbursement of medical services to injured workers subject to the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. The schedules will have maximum fees, in absence of a contract, for the reimbursement of categories of healthcare providers in six regions of the Commonwealth. The schedules were designed by an actuarial team and stakeholder advisory panel using actual Virginia workers’ compensation paid reimbursement data collected from insurers, third-party administrators and providers. The law instructs VWC to create a unique Virginia-based fee schedule that reflects actual average historical reimbursements from 2014-15 as the baseline. To access the fee schedules for your region, the implementation timeline, background about the process, and other information please visit here.
Please contact VOS government relations consultant Cal Whitehead with questions or for assistance in accessing the information.
VOS was awarded a grant from the AAOS last Fall to fund an 18-month campaign around COPN reform. VOS formed the Virginia Coalition to Reform COPN, which is comprised of 22 organizations that all support significant reform. Our website can be viewed here. We have built a grassroots action network that now has over 600 supporters signed up. We recently applied for another AAOS grant to continue funding our COPN efforts, with a focus on funding for communications and messaging.
For the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session, we will be pursuing individual project exemption bills as well as statewide reform. The Chair of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee, Delegate Bobby Orrock, has advised stakeholders to move forward with this strategy. The Virginia Coalition to Reform COPN is coordinating our legislative efforts on this.