Virginia officials say school mental health pilot ‘successfully launched’ new services

BY: - September 20, 2023

Virginia’s behavioral health agency is recommending policymakers continue developing a plan for mental health care for youth after a pilot program ended last spring.  Under the school-based mental health pilot program, six Virginia school divisions — Bristol, Hanover, Hopewell, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Richmond city — increased mental health services for students using a combined $2.5 […]

Health care workers in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. authorize strike against Kaiser Permanente

BY: - September 19, 2023

Some 3,800 union health care workers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., are threatening to go on strike at the end of this month if the leadership at Kaiser Permanente and the union cannot agree to a new contract addressing staffing shortages and low pay for workers. According to a Monday statement from the Office […]

Hospitals plead with Congress to avert $8 billion in cuts in Medicaid funding

BY: - September 18, 2023

WASHINGTON — Health care representatives from across the United States are urging Congress to halt cuts to funding that helps hospitals care for uninsured or low-income patients who rely on Medicaid. More than 250 hospitals and health systems appealed to House and Senate leadership in a letter Thursday asking the lawmakers to avert or delay […]

Kaine warns 80K child care spots could be lost in Virginia if federal grant program expires

BY: - September 13, 2023

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to extend funding for five years for a pandemic-era child care subsidy program set to expire at the end of the month. The legislation would extend the child care stabilization grant program, which Congress established in 2021 to help child care providers meet additional costs during the […]

As opioid deaths rise, Roanoke substance use program expands to other Virginia free clinics

BY: - September 12, 2023

Virginians grappling with substance use disorder will soon have greater access to help through an expansion of a peer recovery program launched in Roanoke to other free and charitable clinics in the state.  According to the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia, nearly 500,000 adults in Virginia have a substance abuse disorder. Statewide […]

Food and Drug Administration approves COVID boosters for upcoming season

BY: - September 12, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the latest round of COVID-19 boosters, as public health officials brace for another cold and flu season. An advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to vote on recommendations Tuesday, the final step in the process before people will […]

You might need an ambulance, but your state might not see it as ‘essential’

BY: - September 11, 2023

When someone with a medical emergency calls 911, they expect an ambulance to show up. But sometimes, there simply isn’t one available. Most states don’t declare emergency medical services (EMS) to be an “essential service,” meaning the state government isn’t required to provide or fund them. Now, though, a growing number of states are taking […]


Suicide prevention is a priority for me now

BY: - September 11, 2023

Editor’s note: This commentary discusses grief, loss and suicide. I live in an old Denver building with six units, one of which was occupied, until recently, by a mathematician. I met this neighbor several years ago when I asked permission to enter her apartment, because I was looking for the building’s main water shut-off valve, […]

Virginia Medicaid programs poised to receive more funding under budget deal

BY: - September 11, 2023

Greater funding and changes to several of Virginia’s Medicaid programs may be on their way after the General Assembly adopted long-delayed amendments to the state’s two-year budget last Wednesday.  The changes range from an increase in disability waiver slots and higher reimbursement rates for health care and disability service providers to modifying an emergency room […]


Community health workers: behind-the-scenes heroes

BY: - September 8, 2023

By Valerie McAllister  If your doctor said, “There are comorbidities that will affect your outcome,” many people would not understand what that means or what they need to do to change their outcome. Fortunately, Virginia has an important group of people making health care services more accessible and understandable: community health workers. Last week was […]

Lawsuit seeks to block Virginia’s stricter hemp laws

BY: - September 7, 2023

Two hemp businesses and a private citizen are challenging a Virginia law that instituted tougher limits on hemp products in Virginia in federal court, saying the new rules cause financial harm to hemp businesses and interfere in interstate commerce. The law, which went into effect July 1, set the maximum amount of THC in hemp […]


Why did Kiki Webb have to die?

BY: - September 7, 2023

By Dale M. Brumfield Around 8:00 a.m. on March 7, 2023, Anitrel “Kiki” Webb, a 45-year-old inmate at the all-female Fluvanna Correctional Facility in Troy, Virginia, went to take a shower. Officers found her almost four hours later, hanging from the rod, dead. Webb had been sentenced in Roanoke the previous April to 15 years […]