POLICY PRIORITIES

Last updated January 19, 2021

Virginia Policy Watch

Dental Reimbursement Rates

Catalyst is partnering with the Virginia Dental Association to advocate for increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rates for dentists; this change would more closely reflect private insurance reimbursement rates. The Medicaid dental program has not raised the dental reimbursement rates in over sixteen years. This increase would be help to make the Medicaid dental program as strong as possible by ensuring a large network of providers to care for members.

Funding for the Office of Drinking Water

Safe, affordable, and trusted water is vital for health. Virginia has some of the safest water in the nation, a big part of which is due of the incredible work at the Office of Drinking Water (ODW) within the Virginia Dept. of Health. Catalyst will work with partners to ensure ODW has the resources it needs for water testing, infrastructure development, and outreach.

Catalyst staff are prioritizing these policies during the 2022 Virginia legislative session.

2022 Legislative Session Webinar

Watch the 2022 Legislative Session Prep webinar from December 2021 to get ready for what's to come during the legislative session. Hear about our policy priorities, other policies we're watching, and how the governor's budget impacts them.

Federal Policy Watch

Expanding Funding for Community Health Worker Services

Senators Casey (D-PA), Tillis (R-NC), Murkowski (R-AK) and Smith (D-MN) have introduced S.3479, the Building a Sustainable Workforce for Healthy Communities Act, which expands funding for community health workers (CHWs). Federal investments in the workforce through the CARES Act of 2020 and the American Rescue Plan of 2021 are enabling state and local governments to hire and support CHWs – but the funding is time-limited. This new bill invests in the sustainability of this workforce and expands grant opportunities to grassroots, community-based organizations.

Dental in Medicare Part B

Congress is considering adding coverage for dental services as part of Medicare Part B (the Federal insurance program for Americans age 65+ and some individuals with special health care needs). This is a BIG deal. Nearly 1.5 million Virginians are enrolled in Medicare, many of whom face significant cost barriers to access dental care. Like adding a Medicaid dental benefit for adults in the Commonwealth, this is a critical next step to ensuring all Virginians have access to comprehensive health care.

Find additional resources and information from our friends at Families USA.

Medicaid Dental Benefit Act

A federal bill is being introduced in Congress that would make adult dental services mandatory coverage for all adults on Medicaid (HR4439). Currently, each state makes this determination. Virginia passed an adult dental benefit in 2020, but is one of only 20 states with extensive dental benefit coverage for adults; 30 states have little to no coverage for adults on Medicaid. This new bill is not tied to the ongoing budget reconciliation package.

PASSED: American Jobs Plan - Water Infrastructure

Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Nov. 5, and President Biden officially signed it into law on Monday, Nov. 15. It allocates significant funds towards infrastructure, including support for improvements to the nation’s crumbling water infrastructure, without which, Virginians cannot be guaranteed access to clean water. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Virginia can expect to receive $738 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is available in all communities. You can read more about the bill’s impact on Virginia here.