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Working with the Department of Medicaid Assistance Services, Governor Northam is increasing access to healthcare for Virginia’s 1.5 million Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents. These actions include:
- Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
- Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
- Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
- Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
- Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
- The Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Department of Social Services are preparing options to ensure the most vulnerable populations have continued access to critical services, including the potential for in-home care and food support.
- The Department of Social Services is working with local partners, such as food pantries, to ensure no one goes hungry in the event of extended school closures.
Certificate of Public Need Waiver
Governor Northam signed an executive order giving hospitals and nursing homes the ability to increase their bed capacity without needing prior governmental approval, being issued a new waiver, or going through red tape.
State Correctional Facilities
- The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) has canceled offender visitation at all facilities until further notice. Off-site video visitation is still available.
- The Department of Corrections has suspended the transfer of individuals from local and regional jails for a minimum of 30 days.
- A dedicated COVID-19 public information line with an updated, recorded message is operational. The phone number is (804) 887-8484.
- DOC has implemented a screening protocol for offenders coming into state facilities from local jails.
- Virginia provided detailed guidance to correctional facilities and other work locations regarding approved hand washing, sanitizing, and disinfectant products, and instructions for the proper use of those products to provide protection from COVID-19.
- Additional information about the steps being taken at Virginia’s correctional facilities is available here.
Regional and Local Jails
Governor Northam is encouraging local criminal justice officials, including Commonwealth’s attorneys, defense attorneys, sheriffs, and other jail officials, to explore proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring public safety. These recommendations include:
- Allowing sentence modifications that can reduce populations within the jails, as outlined in Va. Code § 19.2-303.
- Diverting offenders from being admitted into jail prior to trial, including the use of summonses by law enforcement in lieu of arrest pursuant to Va. Code § 19.2-74, and use of local pretrial programs as available and with consideration to local capacity.
- Considering ways to reduce low risk offenders that are being held without bail in jails.
- Utilizing alternative solutions to incarceration such as home electronic monitoring, pursuant to Va. Code § 53.1-131.2.