Current Legislative Activity
VaCCRA is monitoring the following in-process and probable future legislation on the state and federal levels:
In August 2018, VaCCRA was among the first in the nation to issue a strong statement supporting resident representation on governing boards. Furthermore, VaCCRA endorses resident representatives having the same obligations & rights, including voting, as non-resident board members, and elected by the residents, not appointed as token representatives by management. According to a 2019 Ziegler research report, more than 50% of the nation’s CCRCs now have representatives on corporate-level boards of directors and that number is growing.
A year-long study by the Department of Social Services, recommended in House Document 6 (HJR 118, 2018): Report on the Regulation of Independent Living Communities that an Independent Living Ombudsman position be established, along with a complaint line to receive, record and respond to concerns by residents of independent living communities. Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care have had Long Term Care Ombudsman services for 42 years. Delegate Hala Ayala (District 51of Prince William County is the chief sponsor of this bill going forward in the 2021 Virginia General Assembly.
Immunity for Nursing Homes:
VaCCRA opposed granting immunity during this pandemic to nursing homes. Immunity would deprive residents of their legal rights and protections, making them more vulnerable to numerous forms of negligence. Presently governors in 20 states (including Virginia with Executive Order 60 ) are shielding nursing homes, owners and employees from legal liability during the Covid-19 pandemic, and possibly evading pre-pandemic problems. VaCCRA supports a moratorium on any future waivers or actions.
Prescription Drug Pricing:
According to an AARP Fact Sheet, from 2012-2017 Virginia’s annual income rose 8.5% but yearly prescription costs rose by 58%. Along with several other senior advocacy organizations (AARP, LeadingAge, NaCCRA), VaCCRA is seeking a cap of out of pocket expenses for seniors, a crackdown on drug prices and price increases, and an increase in competition and greater transparency.
Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2019 (H.R.1682 & S.753):
If passed, these bills would count “observation stays” toward the 3-days of inpatient acute care that is required to receive Medicare nursing home coverage. A nationwide, class action law suit (Alexander v. Azar) was filed after patients were required to pay up to $30,000 for skilled nursing care when they were held (often unknowingly) on “observation status”. HB1251 & SB172 are written to protect Virginians from surprise medical bills.
Medicare & Medicaid numerous & ongoing changes:
Many regulations have been waived during the pandemic. Other changes have been initiated or proposed, such as a new payment system called Patient Driven Payment Model of 2019, and the Bed Tax on all hospital beds with the possibility of expanding this to nursing homes & assisted living beds.
Greater transparency in reporting Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes:
Presently a number of bills are being proposed at the federal and state level to require more accurate reporting of Covid illnesses & deaths in the wide range of senior facilities classified as nursing homes.
VaCCRA is also promoting the following nonpartisan issues:
- Accessibility to Absentee Balloting in Virginia;
- Supporting the Constitutional Amendment on the Nov 3 ballot advocating for greater transparency & fairness in redistricting
- Advocating for greater attention in counting during Census 2020 to include the often over looked senior citizen populations;
- Advocating for immediate increased funding and nonpartisan management so seniors can receive their medications & medical supplies, their social security checks, and other necessities in a timely manner from the United State Postal Service.