House Bill 2225 and Senate Bill 1341, identical bills, enacted during the 2003 General Assembly Session amended the Code of Virginia to provide assistance for Virginians who are unable to pay for their prescription medications. The specific statutory changes contained in HB 2225 and SB 1341 include:
• The addition of Code § 2.2-214.1 which established a "special, nonreverting fund that shall be known as the Healthy Lives Prescription Fund."
• The addition of Code § 32.1-23.1 which requires prescription assistance information to be included on the website of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) with a link from the VDH website to the website of the Virginia Department for the Aging.
In addition, HB 2225 and SB 1341 included a second enactment clause requiring the Joint Commission on Health Care to prepare a Plan "to provide prescription drug benefits for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities ...."
The Joint Commission on Health Care unanimously approved the proposed design for the Healthy Lives Prescription Plan on November 12, 2003. The focus of the Plan is to establish a public-private partnership to develop a statewide system for assisting seniors, who do not have prescription drug coverage, in obtaining their prescription drugs. The Plan will include a two-phase implementation. The Plan was designed so that Phase I and Phase II could be implemented with no fiscal impact prior to FY 2006 when recommendations that may have a fiscal impact can be considered.
Phase I of the Plan will include such activities as informing seniors and their families regarding the existence of pharmaceutical discount cards and affiliating with existing opportunities in the community to provide one-on-one assistance in filling out applications.
Phase II of the Plan will involve continued research and consultation related to additional actions that the General Assembly could implement to assist seniors in obtaining their prescription medications.
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