Joint Commission on Health Care

May 6, 1997, Richmond

1997 Work Plan

At the May 6th meeting, staff presented an overview of the joint commission's 1997 legislative package and a draft work plan that outlines its schedule of meetings and studies for 1997. The joint commission's tentative schedule includes meetings on June 3rd, July 2nd, August 5th, September 16th, October 7th, November 12th, December 2nd and January 6th (1998). All meetings will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be held in Senate Room A of the General Assembly Building. Materials presented to the joint commission generally are available through the Internet the day following the meeting.

The joint commission's work plan includes studies on a wide range of health care issues, including (i) "point-of-service" health insurance plans (SJR 297/HJR 631); (ii) minimum standards for hospital-based pediatric care (HJR 569); (iii) the health status and conditions of African-Americans (SJR 355); (iv) high risk insurance pools (SJR 337); (v) payment of wellness club memberships for Medicaid recipients when prescribed by a physician; and (vi) pre-existing conditions and community rating in health insurance policies (SB 1181).

The two most significant studies to be conducted by the joint commission during 1997 will be to resolve several outstanding long-term care and aging issues and improve access to health care for Virginia's indigent and uninsured populations.

Long-Term Care/Aging Study

Pursuant to SJR 316 and HJR 655 (1997), the joint commission will address outstanding long-term care and aging issues pertaining to the licensing, financing, organization, and regulation of long-term care facilities and community-based services. The resolutions also direct the joint commission to study respite care and long-term care insurance policies.

A subcommittee established by Senator Walker to oversee the study will be participating in site visits to various long-term care and aging facilities and programs during the course of the study, which will be conducted during the late summer and fall. The subcommittee will brief the joint commission at the August 5th, September 16th and October 7th meetings.

Indigent/Uninsured Study

SJR 298 (1997) directs the joint commission, in cooperation with a number of state agencies and other health care-related organizations, to make recommendations for improving access to care for Virginia's indigent and uninsured populations.

The study will include an analysis of (i) a recently completed survey of the insurance status of Virginians; (ii) the underlying reasons for persons being uninsured; (iii) the impact that not-for-profit to for-profit hospital conversions may be having on the indigent and uninsured; (iv) the impact that the provision of care for the indigent and uninsured has on individual providers and hospitals; (v) the role that projects supported by the Virginia Health Care Foundation and the Virginia Indigent Health Care Trust Fund play in meeting the needs of the uninsured; (vi) the appropriateness of expanding Medicaid coverage to certain segments of the uninsured population; and (vii) whether subsidies to purchase private health insurance should be implemented.

A subcommittee to oversee this study will be participating in site visits to various programs designed to provide care for indigent and uninsured persons and will present its findings at the June 3rd, July 2nd, and August 5th joint commission meetings.

The Honorable Stanley C. Walker, Chairman
Staff contact: Jane Norwood Kusiak