While the special session continues, the MSV is looking ahead to several issues of focus for the 2021 General Assembly session. Maintaining relationships with Virginia’s lawmakers is more critical than ever as our country continues to face the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The MSV is committed to bringing the physician and PA voice forward and serving as a resource to all public stakeholders. Advocacy with our state leaders is a year-round effort, and the MSV Government Affairs and Policy team have worked hard to offer our members virtual opportunities to connect with their legislators.
The COVID-19 Panedmic has highlighted the iportance of telemedicine services, especially for vulnerable populations. MSV will be exploring legislative opportunities to expand the range of reimbursable telehealth services to reduce the barriers healthcare providers currently have in reaching patient populations without access to the infrastructure necessary for audio-visual telemedicine consults.
MSV will continue to explore opportunities for meaningful COPN reform to improve affordable access for patients in Virginia.
In the 2020 Special Session, previously un-allotted funding was restored to the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP) in the amount of $2.1 million for FY 2021 and $4.2 million for FY 2022. MSV will continue to advocate to ensure that funding continues to be included in the state's budget so that children in the Commonwealth of Virginia have enhanced access to critical mental health services.
Health Plans and the Fair Business Practices Act
As many of our members know, Anthem recently submitted a contract change that reduced "Incident To" billing for PAs and Nurse Practitioners to 85 percent. MSV will be exploring opportunities to protect providers from future cuts and how to best amend the Virginia Fair Business Practices Act to improve transparency for our providers.
Scope of Practice
MSV is expecting several bills that will attempt to expand the scope of practice for healthcare providers as a response to ongoing concerns around access to care further strained by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The MSV will continue to protect physicial led team-based care and advocate for patient safety.
In the 2021 General Assembly Session, the MSV is looking to expand the SafeHaven™ program to other healthcare providers. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for wellness and mental health services across the healthcare system has only grown, and the MSV hopes to pass legislation this year to make SafeHaven™ even better.