The importance of funding STEP-VA, reducing the wait list for DD Waivers, and expanding Medicaid were at the top of the list of legislative priorities discussed by Rockbridge Area Community Services leaders with Virginia lawmakers on Wednesday.
Following meetings of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards (VACSB) in Richmond this week, Board Chair Sara Vasura joined Executive Director John Young and Public Relations Director Crista Cabe in face-to-face meetings with regional representatives to the General Assembly.
The RACS group met individually with five lawmakers: Delegate Ben Cline and Senator Creigh Deeds, whose legislative districts include the RACS catchment area; and Delegate Dickie Bell, Delegate Steve Landes, and Senator Emmett Hanger, who represent nearby districts. Pictured here are Senator Emmett Hanger and RACS Board Chair Sara Vasura.
Each legislator offered a very warm welcome on a cold and snowy day, and engaged in substantive discussion of key issues.
The RACS leaders were participating in an advocacy effort coordinated by the VACSB, joining representatives from Community Services Boards and Behavioral Health Authorities across the Commonwealth.
Legislative priorities discussed included:
Full funding of STEP-VA (System Transformation, Excellence, and Performance in Virginia), mandated by the General Assembly as a pathway to across-the-board excellence in behavioral healthcare but not yet fully funded.
Medicaid expansion, which would provide access to health insurance for approximately 240,000 low-income people stuck in the health-care coverage gap because they make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, and too little to obtain quality, affordable coverage through the federal insurance marketplace.
Increase reimbursement rate for Medicaid Early Intervention Case Management, because the current monthly rate does not cover the expense of providing this critical service.
Reduce the DD Waiver Waiting List. Currently over 11,000 people with developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for community based-services and supports to help them maximize their potential.
To add your voice in advocating for these priorities, contact your own legislators. One helpful tool is “Who’s My Legislator." Plug in your home address, hit “enter,” and a listing of your legislators is shown along with clickable email addresses and phone numbers.