Greetings and Happy New Year!
On behalf of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA), we hope that you and your families enjoyed a happy and safe holiday season. Legislators, stakeholders, and the VHHA Government Affairs team are diligently preparing for the upcoming 2023 General Assembly session when we anticipate health care will once again take center stage. This includes issues with significant implications for hospitals. Prior to the 2023 Session, voters in districts spread across the Commonwealth will have a chance to cast ballots in forthcoming special elections being held to fill vacancies in the U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia Senate, and the Virginia House of Delegates. While those election results are to be determined, the results of the November 2022 elections delivered a modest majority to Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives enabling the GOP to reclaim control of the lower chamber of Congress.
–The VHHA Government Affairs Team
What’s Happening in Richmond
Special Elections for the Virginia General Assembly
Several special elections are in the offing this month (each contest is set for Jan. 10) due to a series of separate developments.
One special election is being held to select an individual to fill the unexpired term of former Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R- Rockbridge County) who passed away on Dec. 13 following a lengthy and valiant battle against cancer. Prior to his House of Delegates service, Del. Campbell served on the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors and School Board. He was a retired Virginia State Trooper. His wife, Ellen, has announced her intention to run in the special election and she has been endorsed by Governor Glenn Youngkin and House of Delegates Speaker Todd Gilbert.
Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County) recently resigned his seat to accept a federal government position as a deputy assistant secretary running the National Travel and Tourism Office, a division of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Republican Monique Baroudi will face Democratic nominee, Holly Seibold, in the Jan. 10 contest to determine who occupies the seat Keam is vacating.
Republican Kevin Adams and Democrat Aaron Rouse are facing off in a Jan. 10 special election for the Virginia Beach-based 7th Senatorial District, which most recently has been represented by Senator Jen Kiggans, a nurse and Navy veteran who was elected to Congress in November. The district is widely considered an electoral “toss-up,” politically speaking. In a closely divided Virginia Senate – Democrats currently have a 21-19 edge – the seat is coveted by both parties heading into the legislative session.
2023 General Assembly
The VHHA Government Affairs Team is preparing for the fast-approaching 2023 General Assembly session, which officially begins on Wednesday, Jan. 11. In December, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin introduced his recommended amendments to the two-year state budget during a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees. The Governor’s proposed modifications call for historic investments in behavioral health and health care workforce development. Many of those proposals are consistent with VHHA priorities. They include: $30 million for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to establish the Earn While You Learn Program – a nationally recognized model that provides health care students the opportunity to work in health care while they attend class to become a health care professional, an additional $10 million for the Nursing Preceptor Incentive Program, $20 million for psychiatric emergency programs, $4.1 million for the Behavioral Health Student Loan Repayment Program, and $57 million to expand and modernize comprehensive crisis receiving centers. VHHA will work with the Youngkin Administration and the General Assembly to advance these and other critical priorities for Virginia hospitals.
What’s Happening in Washington, D.C.
Special Election in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District
On Nov. 28, U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin passed away from complications associated with a colorectal cancer diagnosis he had battled for years. Congressman McEachin was a stalwart in Virginia Democratic politics who was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1996. He served there until 2002 when he unsuccessfully ran for Virginia Attorney General. Subsequent to that, he was elected to the House of Delegates in 2006, and then the Virginia Senate in 2008, where he served until 2016 when he won Virginia’s 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Governor Glenn Youngkin set a special election for the seat on Feb. 21. Republicans selected pastor and Navy veteran, Leon Benjamin, as their nominee, while Democrats in a “firehouse primary” held on Tuesday, Dec. 20 overwhelmingly voted to nominate Congressman McEachin’s successor in the Virginia Senate, Senator Jennifer McClellan (Richmond) from a field of four candidates. If elected, McClellan would be the first Black woman to be a member Congress from Virginia.
Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Package to Avoid Shutdown
Last month, Congress voted to approve a spending package that avoided a looming government shutdown. The approved package includes several critical items related to hospitals and health systems. The spending bill prevented the harmful “Pay-As-You-Go” Medicare 4% sequester cuts for two years, extend for two years critical rural Medicare programs, telehealth flexibilities and the Acute Hospital Care at Home program, and allows states to begin processing Medicaid redeterminations April 1, 2023, while phasing down the public health emergency-related to enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding support. The spending package also includes congressionally directed spending items, or “earmarks,” requested by the VHHA Foundation: $885,000 to establish the Virginia Center for Hospital-Based Violence Intervention, which will advance hospital-based violence intervention programs at Virginia hospitals and health systems; and $375,000 for the Virginia Community Telehealth Access Network Pilot Program at the VHHA Foundation, which seeks to create a network of telehealth pods located next to post offices to help provide clinical care in rural communities that lack adequate broadband and proximity to medical providers.
Wednesday, January 18, 2023: VHHA/VNA Workforce Lobby Day
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA), in partnership with the Virginia Nurses Association (VNA), invites members to join us in Richmond for a day of advocacy on workforce challenges, including the need to support programs that help with recruitment, retention, wellness, and safety for the health care workforce. Attendees may include executives, administrators, or clinicians. It is not necessary to be health care policy experts to participate. We encourage you to bring your own experience and insight to Richmond to share with your elected district representatives.
REGISTER NOW: Let us know if you plan to attend the event by completing this registration form
8:00 a.m. Breakfast and legislative briefing – ChamberRVA 919 E Main St. Suite #1700
9:00 a.m. Morning Legislative Visits – Pocahontas General Assembly Building, 900 E Main St
NOON Optional: View the House of Delegates and Senate in session – Virginia State Capitol
NOON Lunch – ChamberRVA
1:30 p.m. Afternoon Legislative Visits – Pocahontas General Assembly Building
4-6 p.m. Happy Hour and report back on your day! Tobacco Company Restaurant, 1201 E Cary St.
Questions? Contact Sharon Alexander, Director of Workforce Initiatives, (908) 328-3807, email@example.com
Engage with VHHA & HosPAC
Join the Hospital Grassroots Network!
Sign up for the VHHA Hospital Grassroots Network to join our rapid response network that helps legislators understand the importance of a pending health care vote or issue.
The Virginia Hospital Advocate newsletter will also help keep you updated on key issues so that you’re informed and ready to respond when an urgent action alert is issued.
Support Dedicated Legislators through HosPAC!
HosPAC is VHHA’s political action committee. HosPAC provides organized, effective political action by supporting candidates who will work to improve quality health care through policies that recognize the importance of Virginia’s hospital and health systems.
please visit www.VAHosPAC.com.
HosPAC participation is strictly voluntary and not tax deductible.
Thank you for supporting Virginia hospitals!
VHHA’s Advocacy Team works hard to keep you up to date with the latest health care policy and politics news. We love to hear from our members and supporters!
- Julie Dime, Vice President of Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jennifer Wicker, Senior Director of Government Affairs, email@example.com
- David Nutter, Director of Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rachel Becker, Director of Government Affairs, email@example.com
- Davis Gammon, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t hesitate to contact members of the team, and send Davis feedback or suggestions for topics to cover in future newsletters. Thank you!