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." In July 2003, JCHC assumed the responsibilities of the Joint Commission on Behavioral Health Care.
The Joint Commission on Health Care is comprised of 18 legislative members. Eight members of the Senate are appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and ten members from the House of Delegates are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The Secretary of Health and Human Resources serves as an ex officio member.
Delegate Benjamin L. Cline, Chair
Senator Linda T. Puller, Vice-Chair
Delegate Robert H. Brink
Delegate David L. Bulova
Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance
Delegate T. Scott Garrett
Delegate Algie T. Howell, Jr.
Delegate Harvey B. Morgan
Delegate David A. Nutter
Delegate John M. O’Bannon, III
Delegate Christopher K. Peace
Senator George L. Barker
Senator Harry B. Blevins
Senator R. Edward Houck
Senator L. Louise Lucas
Senator Ralph S. Northam
Senator Patricia S. Ticer
Senator William C. Wampler, Jr.
The Honorable William A. Hazel, Jr. (ex officio)
Secretary of Health and Human Resources
JCHC met four times in 2010 and held an additional meeting in January 2011. The potential impact of federal health reform was a major issue brought before the Joint Commission. Presentations from a variety of perspectives on the subject were given by Secretary William A. Hazel, Jr., Alfred W. Gross and Jacqueline A. Cunningham of the Bureau of Insurance, Steve Horan of Community Health Solutions, and Shirley Gibson of the Virginia Nurses Association. In addition, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II discussed the legal challenges brought by Virginia and other states to federal health reform legislation and Cindi Jones, Director of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI) discussed the findings and recommendations of the VHRI Advisory Council.
JCHC staff reports were presented on catastrophic health insurance, State funding for cancer research, medical care for uninsured individuals with life-threatening conditions, indigent and charity care provided by hospitals, chronic health care homes, and the feasibility of replicating the Caregivers Community Network established by James Madison University. In addition to staff reports, JCHC members considered presentations regarding Virginia Health Information’s mission and initiatives; the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services’ comprehensive plan for serving people with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities; and a State Plan Option for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services, as evaluated by the Department of Medical Assistance Services.
JCHC’s Healthy Living/Health Services Subcommittee heard presentations from several agency heads regarding their priorities and initiatives including: Dianne L. Reynolds-Cane, the Director of the Department of Health Professions; Karen Remley, the State Health Commissioner; and Gregg A. Pane, the Director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services. Additional presentations addressed such issues as childhood obesity, adult obesity, and menu labeling; work of the Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force; safe nurse staffing, and chronic disease management programs. Staff reports on FAMIS eligibility levels, Virginia’s HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs, and the prescription of long-term antibiotic therapy for Lyme Disease were heard also.
JCHC’s Behavioral Health Care Subcommittee heard from Jill Hanken of the Poverty Law Center and Mira Signer of the Virginia Office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness regarding the potential impact of federal health reform on the provision of behavioral health care. James W. Stewart, III, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services discussed his priorities for the department, followed by Lisa Moore of the Mt. Rogers Community Services Board who presented a community perspective regarding the closure of two behavioral health care units. Richard J. Bonnie discussed the responses received on the Virginia College Mental Health Survey and presented an update on the work of the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform. JCHC and Division of Legislative Services staff discussed the effect and interpretation of statutory barrier crime provisions on employment by providers of behavioral health care.
Materials and presentations from the 2010 meetings are available on the Commission’s website http://jchc.virginia.gov.
JCHC 2011 Session Legislative Package
JCHC’s legislative package for 2011 General Assembly Session will include two bills and five budget amendments (prepared for introduction in both chambers of the General Assembly).
• Amend Code of Virginia Title 22.1 to require schools to provide the opportunity for students in grades K-8 to participate in regular physical activity; elementary students shall participate for an average of at least 150 minutes per week and middle school students for an average of at least 225 minutes per week.
• Amend Code of Virginia § 30.170 to extend the sunset date for the Joint Commission on Health Care to July 1, 2016.
• Language and funding to offer coverage to legal immigrants who are Medicaid-eligible pregnant women.
• Language and funding to offer coverage to legal immigrants who are FAMIS-eligible pregnant women.
• Language and funding of $6.4 million to provide additional funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for FY 2012.
• Language and funding of $5 million to support cancer research at the UVA Cancer Center.
• Language and funding to provide an additional $100,000 for the Uninsured Medical Catastrophe Fund.
The JCHC annual report will be submitted to the General Assembly and the Governor at a later date for publication.