The Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC), a standing Commission of the Virginia General Assembly, was established in 1992 to continue the work of the Commission on Health Care for All Virginians. JCHC’s statutory authority 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." In addition, as of July 1, 2003, JCHC assumed the responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Behavioral Health Care.
The 2009 JCHC Membership
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 Roslyn R. Dance
The Honorable Algie T. Howell, Jr.
The Honorable Harvey B. Morgan
The Honorable David A. Nutter
The Honorable John M. O’Bannon, III
The Honorable Marilyn B. Tavenner, Secretary of Health and Human Resources served as ex officio member.
During the four JCHC meetings held in 2009, the following staff reports were presented:
• Virginia’s Healthcare Workforce Present and Future Need
• Opportunities for Early Identification and Preventive Care of Chronic Diseases
• Culture Change in Long-Term Care Facilities
• Interim Report on State Funding for Cancer Research
• Notification for Breaches of Personal Health Records
• Interim Report on Ensuring Care for Individuals with Life Threatening Conditions
• Update on HJ 101 Task Force on Adverse Medical Outcomes
In addition, presentations were given on such topics as JLARC’s report on Services for Virginians with Autism Spectrum Disorders, updates on the H1N1 flu outbreak, and a proposal for JCHC to provide oversight of a study of mental health issues in higher education.
JCHC’s Healthy Living/Health Services Subcommittee met three times and heard presentations on such matters as childhood obesity, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, the impact of the economic downturn on safety net providers, and a staff report addressing Virginia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
JCHC’s Behavioral Health Care Subcommittee met three times, considering reports on such topics as improvements in the delivery of behavioral health services, activities of the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform, the impetus for the Geriatric Mental Health Planning Partnership, and conflict between Virginia’s mental health parity laws and recently enacted federal law. Two staff reports on Minority Mental Health Needs and Treatment in Virginia and on Statutory Language on Barrier Crimes were heard also.
Materials and presentations from the 2009 meetings are available on the Commission’s website http://jchc.state.va.us.
2010 JCHC Legislation
The JCHC legislative package includes three bills, three joint resolutions and three budget amendments. The bills address such issues as:
• Bringing the State’s mental health parity law into compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
• Authorizing a pilot program to test the use of disclosures, alternative dispute resolutions, and other measures in the case of adverse medical outcomes.
• Allowing an individual with a conviction of assault and battery against a family or household member to be assessed for employment by providers licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. (Applies to employment working with adults only.)
JCHC’s joint resolutions request the following:
• Study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission of the costs and benefits of implementing the home and community-based services state plan option.
• Study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission of the need for additional State funding for the Office of the State Ombudsman and the local ombudsman offices, and for greater administrative control by the State Ombudsman’s office over resource allocation and other administrative decisions.
• Report by the Cancer Plan Action Coalition to the Joint Commission on Health Care when the Virginia Cancer Plan is updated. The Virginia Cancer Plan would be submitted as a report to the Governor and the General Assembly at that time also.
JCHC’s three budget amendments address:
• Funding to offer coverage to legal immigrants who are Medicaid-eligible pregnant women. (Labor and delivery costs are covered already as emergency services.)
• Funding to offer coverage to legal immigrants who are FAMIS-eligible pregnant women.
• Language directing the Department of Medical Assistance Services to develop, to the extent that it is budget neutral or likely to result in cost savings, express lane eligibility provisions and other administrative procedures to simplify child health enrollment and improve retention.