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Legislative Update 2-25-19

February 22, 2019

Last Week

GMCB Bill Back:VAHHS testified in the House Health Care Committee on the Administration’s proposal of shifting $2.5 million from the State to hospitals and insurers to fund the Green Mountain Care Board.  VAHHS highlighted the challenges hospitals are facing with recent Medicaid cuts, the mental health crisis, and investing in health care reform. Given these factors, VAHHS explained that hospitals must have adequate resources to meet all expectations of them, which becomes harder when taking on the extra cost of financing the GMCB.  VAHHS requested that the Green Mountain Care Board focus on its core functions of hospital budgets, Certificates of Need, insurance rate review, Accountable Care Organization oversight, and health care reform measurements.  VAHHS also asked the legislature to take a hard look at adding work and responsibilities to the Green Mountain Care Board without a special, separate appropriation.

Tobacco 21:  The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted unanimously to pass out the Tobacco 21 initiative. The bill passed as introduced except for a small technical change. Senator Ingram will

Be reporting it on the Senate floor next week.  If you would like to send your thanks, you can contact the Senate Health and Welfare Committee members at:

·  Sen. Virginia "Ginny" Lyons, Chair

·  Sen. Richard Westman, Vice Chair

·  Sen. Ann Cummings

·  Sen. Dick McCormack

·  Sen. Debbie Ingram, Clerk

If you would like to contact your senator to support this bill, you can find contact information for your senator here.

Expansion of Medicaid Dental Benefit: The Senate Health and Welfare Committee heard a bill that would expand the current Medicaid dental benefit from about $500 per year to $1800 over three years and include preventive services at no out of pocket cost.  The bill also proposes a wraparound program for Medicare beneficiaries at or below 225% federal poverty level as well as restructuring Medicaid reimbursement to dental providers and integrating dental care into Accountable Care Organizations.

This Week

Budget: House Health Care will be writing their budget memo next week where they will lay out their budget priorities for the House Appropriations Committee.  On Friday, the committee heard testimony on the Department of Mental Health’s budgets, including VAHHS testimony against the proposed cuts to sheriffs providing support to emergency departments.   

Social Services Integration with Accountable Care Organizations: Senate Health and Welfare will be looking at a bill that requires an evaluation of Accountable Care Organizations’ integration of social services.

Primary Care Services: Senate Health  

Devon Green

Vice President of Government Relations