Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2006

SJR 103: Lead Poisoning Prevention

October 18, 2006

The joint subcommittee, chaired by Senator Benjamin J. Lambert III, held its first meeting of the interim on October 18, 2006. The continuing study has evolved from a focus on lead-based paint abatement (SJR 245, 1993) to a comprehensive forum relating to activities to reduce lead poisoning, particularly among children. SJR 103 (2006) directs the joint subcommittee to:

• Determine the usefulness of statewide health database information in contain-ing health care costs and improving health care, especially for children who are exposed to lead or have elevated blood lead levels.
• Meet the two essential lead program elements needed by the Department of Health to meet 2006 federal grant requirements.
• Continue to assist agencies to obtain funding to protect Virginia's children from lead risks.

Virginia Lead Safe Homes
Floris Weston - Program Manager, Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD)

Ms. Weston updated the members on the Virginia Lead-Safe Homes Program and explained that the DHCD's goal is to improve the ability of local communities to deal with local housing problems, including lead poisoning issues. The DHCD is cur-rently working with a $3 million HUD grant to target multiple offenders, identified by the Health Department, that have been associ-ated with more than one incident of lead poisoning of a child under the age of six. The DHCD hopes to have a greater impact by targeting multiple offenders, than if they simply meet their goal of targeting 100 units. Of concern to the members was that no Virginia localities received HUD funding in the last round of grants. Ms. Weston stressed that localities need to be encouraged to seek federal funding. It is unclear whether localities are failing to apply or if their applications were simply unsuccessful.

Since one of the original purposes of the joint subcommittee was to help agencies obtain funding, the members agreed to further explore the issue of grant applications at the next meeting.

Certification of Lead Contractors and Workers
David Dick - Executive Director, Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation (DPOR)

Mr. Dick explained that DPOR, as well as the Board of Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors, is continuing its role of maintain-ing a regulatory infrastructure enabling those needing lead-abatement to locate qualified contractors and professionals. In order for a project to be considered for lead-abatement, at least one of the following conditions must exist:

• There is a child with an elevated blood-lead level in residence on the property when the work is being done.
• More than $25,000 in HUD grant money is being expended.
• The stated purpose of the project is to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards.

Mr. Dick updated the subcommittee on the status of a proposed EPA rule that was published in January of 2006, which contains new requirements to reduce exposure to lead hazards by renovation, repair, and paint activities that disturb lead-based paint, support-ing the Federal government's goal of eliminat-ing lead poisoning by 2010. This rule was mandated to be in effect by 1996; however, the EPA is currently conducting a field study to collect information to be used in finalizing the rule, and expects final publication in December 2007.

EPSDT Outreach Update
Brian Campbell - EPSDT Coordinator, Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS)

The Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program is the child health component of Medicaid. Mr. Campbell spoke about actions DMAS is taking to ensure that Medicaid-eligible children are receiving the required lead poisoning screening. He told the members about DMAS' collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to reach Medicaid-eligible children with elevated blood-lead levels, both through direct mailings and contact with physicians.

The joint subcommittee was pleased to hear about the positive steps DMAS is taking with regards to Medicaid children, but some members were concerned that children enrolled in Virginia's FAMIS program were not receiving the same benefits. Mr. Campbell stated that FAMIS children are eligible for lead poisoning treatment, but they are not required to receive lead poisoning screening. Non-Medicaid children are currently being screened based on certain risk factors developed by the Lead-Safe Virginia Program. Members expressed the need to further explore the availability of lead poisoning screening to Virginia’s children. Dr. Robert Stroube, Commissioner of the VDH, and others agreed to provide more information on the issue at the next meeting.

Final Meeting

A final meeting will be held in order to hear from the VDH on the status of the Lead-Safe Virginia Program and to discuss recommenda-tions the joint subcommittee may want to submit to the 2007 General Assembly.

The Hon. Benjamin J. Lambert, III

For information, contact:
Jessica Eades and Brenda Edwards, DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2006

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