Legislative Update 2.6.23


Devon Green, VP of Government Relations
VAHHS wants to thank Sen. Dick Sears and Sen. Ginny Lyons for holding a joint hearing last week to hear from health care providers on S.36 and workplace violence. The extensive testimony was raw and emotional. It was jarring to see these matter-of-fact professionals reduced to tears. I want to thank the Senate Judiciary and Senate Health and Welfare Committees for their compassion in hearing our health care providers. Most importantly, thank you to all health care providers who took the time and effort to testify. Your stories were powerful. 
For those who want to learn more, you can find the testimony here:
Here’s what’s happening elsewhere in the legislature:
Long Term Care: Last week, the House passed the FY 2023 Budget Adjustment Act (BAA), including $1.085 million towards a contract for care of individuals who do not need hospital-level of care, but have complex long-term or post-acute care needs. This program is set to start in July, and the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living should be announcing the details of this contract very soon.
Mental Health: The House-passed FY 2023 Budget Adjustment Act (BAA) also included $9.25 million towards youth inpatient psychiatric beds contingent on completion of a feasibility study and approval by the legislature. Looking towards the FY 2024 Budget, the House Health Care Committee heard the Administration’s mental health initiatives:
  • Expand the mobile crisis unit program
  • Open a standalone crisis center in the Northeast Kingdom as a therapeutic alternative to the emergency department
  • Credentialing for peer support services
Dental: The administration also presented an increase in Medicaid reimbursement for dental services to 75% of the commercial rate.
Shield laws: Both chambers are working on bills to protect health care providers who offer reproductive and gender-affirming care. On the Senate side, S.37 protects provider licensure. On the House side, H.89 offers legal and court protections for providers. VAHHS supports these efforts to protect providers.