RD14 - Joint Commission on Health Care 2008 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

Statutory Authority

The Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC), a standing Commission of the General Assembly, was established in 1992 to continue the work of the Commission on Health Care for All Virginians. The statutory authority for JCHC in Code of Virginia, Title 30, Chapter 18, states in part: “The purpose of the Commission is to study, report, and make recommendations on all areas of health care provision, regulation, insurance, liability, licensing, and delivery of services. In so doing, the Commission shall endeavor to ensure that the Commonwealth as provider, financier, and regulator adopts the most cost-effective and efficacious means of delivery of health care services so that the greatest number of Virginians receive quality health care." Further, in July 2003, JCHC assumed the responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Behavioral Health Care.

The Commission is composed of 18 legislative members.

Members from the Senate

The Honorable R. Edward Houck, Chairman
The Honorable George L. Barker
The Honorable Harry B. Blevins
The Honorable L. Louise Lucas
The Honorable Ralph S. Northam
The Honorable Linda T. Puller
The Honorable Patricia S. Ticer
The Honorable William C. Wampler, Jr.

Members from the House of Delegates

The Honorable Phillip A. Hamilton, Vice-Chairman
The Honorable Clifford L. Athey, Jr.
The Honorable Robert H. Brink
The Honorable David L. Bulova
The Honorable Benjamin L. Cline
The Honorable Franklin P. Hall
The Honorable Kenneth R. Melvin
The Honorable Harvey B. Morgan
The Honorable David A. Nutter
The Honorable John M. O’Bannon, III

In addition, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources serves as an ex officio member of the Commission.

2008 Activities

During the five JCHC meetings held in 2008, staff reports were presented to address:

* Initiatives to improve the accessibility and availability of health insurance

* Long-term care alternatives and support for family caregivers

* Potential responses to medical errors and adverse medical outcomes

* Virginia’s efforts to recruit and retain psychiatrists

* Analysis of the educational pipelines for certain health care professionals.

In addition, presentations were given on such topics as the priorities and initiatives of the newly-appointed Commissioner of Health, descriptions of the Mental Retardation and the Individual and Family Developmental Disability Support waivers, and an implementation plan for a lead agency for autism and developmental disability services.

JCHC’s Long-Term Care/Medicaid Reform Subcommittee met three times during the year. The Subcommittee heard presentations on such matters as the priorities and initiatives of the Commissioner of the Department for the Aging; Medicare’s new policy to provide no payment for treating “preventable" conditions, mistakes and infections acquired during a hospital stay; and an update on Virginia’s Medicaid reform and long-term care initiatives.

JCHC’s Behavioral Health Care Subcommittee met four times and heard staff reports addressing underage drinking and the role of psychiatrists and psychologists in the civil commitment process. (The staff report on minority access to mental health services was distributed, although it will not be heard in Subcommittee until 2009.) Furthermore, presentations were given by other agencies and organizations on such issues as services provided by community services boards for children and adolescents, legislation introduced in 2008 to address Virginia’s mental health system, and recent activities of the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.

Materials and presentations from the 2008 meetings are available on the Commission’s website http://jchc.state.va.us.

Legislation Proposed for the 2009 General Assembly Session

The Joint Commission’s 2009 legislative package includes three bills which seek to:

* Amend the Code of Virginia § 4.1-305.1 to prohibit allowing persons who are not of age to consume alcohol in one’s home. (Exceptions are made for a family member or an underage person accompanied by a parent.)

* Amend the Code of Virginia § 30.170 to remove the sunset provision for the Joint Commission on Health Care.

* Amend the Code of Virginia § 37.2-416 to remove the provision allowing an individual with a conviction of assault and battery against a family member to be assessed for rehabilitation. (This bill addresses an oversight from 2008 in which the language in SB 381 should have been conformed to the language in HB 1203.)