HEALTH

After federal judge’s ruling against Affordable Care Act, Virginia plows forward with Medicaid expansion enrollment

BY: - December 20, 2018

More than 182,000 people have signed up for Medicaid since the eligibility rules changed under expansion on Nov. 1, and the state has high hopes that number will continue to rise — even after a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling declaring every part of the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion, unconstitutional. The […]

State health department wants extension of needle-exchange law

BY: - December 17, 2018

In its first report to the General Assembly on needle exchanges in Virginia, the state’s Department of Health is hoping lawmakers will give them more time to get going. Needle exchanges — also known as comprehensive harm reduction or syringe services programs — have only been legal in Virginia for about 18 months, and in […]

Virginia Mercury

After fraudulent sleep study clinic operation, Sterling woman sentenced to seven years

BY: - December 10, 2018

Federal investigators say a Sterling woman ran a massive health care fraud operation in which she defrauded Medicare, Tricare, private insurance and the IRS out of more than $10 million by billing for medically unnecessary sleep studies. Young Yi, 44, was sentenced to seven years in prison for the conspiracy, according to a U.S. Department […]

Lawmakers’ recommendations aimed at temporary detention order crisis, mental health in jails

BY: - December 5, 2018

A group of lawmakers made a series of recommendations Tuesday aimed at tackling a variety of problems within Virginia’s mental health system, which is marred by overcrowded hospitals and jails full of people with serious mental illness. Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, chairman of the Joint Subcommittee Studying Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the […]

‘You have no control:’ As admissions rise, overcrowding at state psychiatric hospitals threatens care and safety

BY: - December 3, 2018

In her Ashland home, which is overflowing with knickknacks and pictures of horses and dogs, Traci Jones stretches her fingers out before her and shrugs. She doesn’t know exactly how many temporary-detention orders she’s received, she says. But she knows it’s more than she can count on both hands. For a little more than 10 […]

Virginia hasn’t seen much improvement in its rate of uninsured children. Could Medicaid expansion help?

BY: - November 30, 2018

For the first time in a decade, the number of children without health insurance rose nationally in 2017, a new report shows. And while Virginia’s slight increase isn’t statistically significant, its rate is still larger than most states that have already expanded Medicaid, suggesting Virginia could see an improvement in 2019 after expansion. Between 2016 […]

Woodbridge physician pleads guilty to operating opioid pill mill

BY: - November 29, 2018

After his nurse practitioner and co-conspirator pleaded guilty in September, a former physician in Woodbridge pleaded guilty Wednesday to operating a pill mill that illegally distributed more than 600,000 oxycodone pills. Shriharsh Laxman Pole, 65, voluntarily surrendered his medical license twice — in 2009 and 2013 — then turned around and founded Excel Medical Clinic, […]

After some adjustments, federal government takes over Virginia’s Medicaid work requirement application

BY: - November 27, 2018

Virginia’s Medicaid work requirement application is finally out of the state’s hands and into the federal government’s after months of work and a last-minute delay from some state Republicans. The Department of Medical Assistance Services submitted its Section 1115 waiver — which allows states to make changes to their Medicaid programs — to the U.S. […]

As health directors become harder to find, is combining leadership between districts the answer?

BY: - November 19, 2018

Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond City Health District, spent about a year as the acting director of the Henrico County Health Department while the state tried to fill the position. But finding someone new was easier said than done. The state classifies the position of health director as a critically hard job to […]

Virginia’s Medicaid expansion drawing thousands more enrollees than initially projected

BY: - November 16, 2018

Less than two weeks after Virginia opened registration for its expanded Medicaid program, officials say they’ve already drawn thousands more applicants than initially anticipated. The state had expected the new program to enroll 300,000 over the next year and a half. They now expect that number to reach 375,000. The new estimates won’t alter the […]

Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

Flurry of action on Dominion’s coal ash risks, closure plans sets stage for next General Assembly session to settle the issue

BY: - November 15, 2018

In each of the past two legislative sessions, the General Assembly has hit the pause button on Dominion Energy’s plans to close ponds containing millions of tons of coal ash at four sites across the state. Some state lawmakers and environmental groups have pushed the reluctant utility to dig up or recycle the ash instead […]

A ‘game changer?’ Proposed Medicaid benefit would cover housing services

BY: - November 12, 2018

As Virginia barrels toward massive changes to its Medicaid program — from expansion to the proposed work requirements — one new benefit hasn’t gotten quite as much attention as others but could make a big difference for groups that provide housing services. Tucked into the 1115 demonstration waiver the state needs to launch the work requirements […]