RD251 - Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund 2012 Annual Report - July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012
Fiscal year 2012 represented another busy year for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. This year the Fund provided over $2.3 million dollars in compensation awards to crime victims and their families, in addition to paying just over $1.7 million dollars for forensic evidence collection in sexual assault cases.
As in years past, CICF staff took steps to ensure that victims’ CICF awards were able to address as many compensable expenses as possible through continued efforts to negotiate bills with medical providers on behalf of claimants, with continued efforts to establish prospective negotiation agreements with CICF for payment of claims. These memoranda of agreement, as required by a 2010 amendment to § 19.2-368.3, further require that health care providers accept payment from CICF as payment in full without billing the patient for any remaining balances. CICF staff continues to educate medical providers throughout the Commonwealth about this legislative change and establish standing agreements with facilities, physicians, dentists, transport services, therapists, and countless other providers of crime-related medical treatment. This work continues into FY 2013.
FY 2012 saw increased payouts in both compensation and SAFE claims over FY 2011, despite a slight (-2%) decrease in the total number of new compensation claims filed. Of the $4 million dollars CICF paid on behalf of Virginia’s victims of violent crime, hospital expenses composed 45% of that expenditure (largely due to $1.5 million dollars paid to hospitals for forensic evidence collection under the SAFE program). Funeral expenses in homicide cases accounted for 27% of CICF’s compensation claim payout in FY 2012, and 15% of CICF’s total FY 2012 claim payout (inclusive of the SAFE program as well as compensation claims). Physician expenses, while accounting for only 17% of CICF’s total payout, accounted for 22% of CICF compensation claim payout. The categories of lost wages and transportation (mileage and ambulance transport) each accounted for approximately 8% of CICF’s compensation claim payout (and 5% each of CICF’s total payout). Other expense types included counseling expenses, prescriptions, moving expenses, domestic loss of support (temporary wage replacement in domestic violence/child sexual assault cases), and prescription expenses.
FY 2012 saw decreases in the number of homicide (-11%) and assault claims (-8%) as compared with FY 2011, but a significant increase in the crime category of child sexual abuse was noted. While child sexual abuse claims were up by 19%, child sexual abuse claims involving family members were up by 90% (91 claims filed, as compared to 48 claims last year). Increases were also noted involving the crimes of abduction, robbery, and stalking. [Arson claims were also significantly higher in FY 2012 (38 claims in 2012 vs. 5 claims in 2011), but this increase could be explained by a single arson incident at a Martinsville apartment complex which yielded 36 claims.] Sexual assault claims involving adult victims remained steady, with no notable increase or decrease. While FY 2012 saw fewer DWI fatality claims (-45% from FY 2011), there was a 44% increase in the number of non-fatal DWI claims in 2012 (increasing from 15 in FY 2011 to 27 this year).
CICF’s involvement in a victim’s care does not stop after an initial award is made. Many victims of violent crime require longer term care for the physical and emotional injuries they sustain, and CICF assists Virginia’s victims of crime with these ongoing health needs. In FY 2012, in addition to issuing 1328 initial compensation awards for victims’ crime-related expenses and 1414 SAFE awards, 374 compensation claims resulted in supplemental awards, which are issued when an eligible victim documents the need for additional benefits after the initial award has been entered. CICF continues to make supplemental awards for the duration of the claimant’s crime-related treatment, until such time as the claim has reached its statutorily designated maximum payout amount ($25,000 for crimes occurring after July 1, 2007; $15,000 for crimes occurring prior).
Professionals within the criminal justice system continue to be the Fund’s most significant source of referrals, with 70% of FY 2012’s claimants learning about CICF from their area victim/witness assistance program and 12% being referred to the Fund from their local police or sheriff’s department or commonwealth’s attorney’s office. Other victims found out about CICF from human service agencies, medical providers, probation offices, funeral homes or other sources. Continued collaboration and training with our criminal justice partners and other stakeholders is important to ensure that potentially eligible victims of crime are able to access the Fund. Fund staff is committed to increasing outreach to other allied professionals and the community at large about CICF. Enhanced training efforts in recent years as well as improvements to the program’s website have served to heighten the Fund’s visibility as staff work toward a vision of CICF’s instant recognition as a resource when an individual has been the victim of a crime.