Policies influence our health. Ensuring that policies at the local, state, and federal levels support comprehensive health care access for all Virginians is integral to Catalyst’s mission. Catalyst engages with partners across the commonwealth to advocate for health policies that advance equity and center the voices and experiences of the communities who are directly impacted.
The 2023 Virginia legislative session will take place from January 11 to February 25. Watch Catalyst’s Policy Webinar from December 2022 that describes what to expect during the legislative session, and stay updated here.
Below, we outlined the policy priorities that staff and leadership at Catalyst are paying special attention to during this short session:
- Supporting the Community Health Worker workforce in Virginia. Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted members of a community who facilitate access to health and social services, provide health education, and improve quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHW positions, while integral to the health care team, are often funded through grants or other short-term arrangements. DMAS requested funding to conduct a study to determine a potential Medicaid reimbursement rate for CHWs; the funds for this study were not included in the Governor’s budget. Catalyst supports our CHW partners in their efforts to secure the funding for this study, and we will continue to promote the important work they do.
- Improving access to dental care in Virginia’s Medicaid program. The Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) published a report that concludes Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) beneficiaries are experiencing significant barriers to accessing dental care. In the report, DMAS examines these barriers and proposes policy changes, which would require state funding, to remove them. Catalyst commends these proposals and will work to secure the funding necessary in the amended budget.
- Maintaining state funding to the Virginia Office of Drinking Water. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a joint federal and state program that helps fund drinking water infrastructure projects. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, significantly increases funding for the DWSRF program, but each state much match a small portion of these funds. Governor Youngkin included this match in his proposed budget. Catalyst will watch to ensure it is included in the final budget.
In the past several years, staff, leadership, and Catalyst partners worked together to advocate on behalf of policies that pave the way toward a more accessible, equitable, and comprehensive health care system. Learn more about our latest policy successes below.