The General Assembly has consistently stopped efforts to outlaw conversion therapy. But state licensing boards might be able to do it themselves.

BY: - October 8, 2018

Conversion therapy, aimed at changing sexual orientation, has been widely deemed ineffective and potentially harmful by nearly every medical professional organization — yet it’s still legal in most of the country, including Virginia. Efforts to outlaw its use on minors by licensed professionals over the past five years have been stymied by Virginia’s General Assembly, where […]

Virginia sees surge in West Nile virus

BY: - October 5, 2018

So far this year there have been 38 cases of West Nile virus in Virginia, a new record for the state. On average, Virginia reports only about nine cases per year, according to the Department of Health. The cases have been spotted in 17 health districts across the state, with Fairfax seeing the most at […]

Report estimates Medicaid work requirement will cost state $25 million

BY: - October 4, 2018

The price tag attached to the proposed Medicaid work requirement that is making its way through a public comment period now could be as high as $25 million, according to the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. And meanwhile, the institute, a liberal-leaning nonprofit that performs fiscal and policy analysis, estimates that 21,600 people could be […]

Virginia Mercury

State awards $6 million to organizations to increase contraception access

BY: - October 3, 2018

In an effort to improve access to family-planning options, the state has awarded $6 million to 12 health care organizations across Virginia so they can provide long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to their patients through May 2020. The program, dubbed the Virginia LARC initiative, is meant to help reduce unintended pregnancies, according to a Virginia Department […]

Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Northam creates new commission to address opioid and other drug addiction

BY: - October 1, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam’s new bipartisan advisory commission to tackle opioid addiction across the state, which met for the first time last week, includes more than two dozen local government officials, law enforcement, lawyers, medical experts and regular people who have seen family members battle opioid addiction. The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction was formed […]

Warner’s black lung detection bill becomes law

BY: - October 1, 2018

President Donald Trump signed into law a bipartisan amendment backed by Virginia Sen. Mark Warner aimed at improving the early detection of black lung, a common disease among coal miners. The amendment requires the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to provide Congress with a report on how to improve participation in the Coal […]

Despite deaths, dozens of violations and revoked licenses, Richmond assisted-living facility remains open

BY: - October 1, 2018

It’s been more than 20 years since Michel Burke-Barnes and Margaret Burke last saw their brother. But in that time, they thought and prayed about him a lot. They wondered: Was he okay? Was somebody taking care of him? They knew he was living at Jones & Jones Assisted Living in Richmond, but little else. […]

Should abuse allegations against teachers be subject to a higher standard of proof?

BY: - September 27, 2018

A group of lawmakers is weighing whether teachers merit an extra level of protection during child abuse investigations. For most cases, an allegation is considered founded if child protective services investigators determine that the alleged abuse or neglect actually occurred based on the available evidence. But if the alleged act took place within the scope […]

Should terminally ill patients be allowed to choose when they die? The medical-aid-in-dying debate comes to Virginia

BY: - September 24, 2018

The fraught debate over medical aid in dying —or what some opponents refer to as physician-assisted suicide — has landed in Virginia. The state’s Joint Commission on Health Care just completed a report on the issue, at the request of Del. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, which is currently up for public comment until Oct. 15. And […]

State Sen. Tommy Norment

Senate Republicans fume over Medicaid work requirement time frame

BY: and - September 20, 2018

Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services has completed a draft of the state’s Medicaid work requirement proposal, which is now open for public comment before it goes to the federal government for approval. But when they were briefed on the work requirement during a meeting Thursday, Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee gnashed their […]

Virginians more supportive of Medicaid expansion than ever before, survey shows

BY: - September 20, 2018

A new statewide survey conducted by the University of Mary Washington shows that more Virginians support Medicaid expansion than ever before. The survey, based on telephone interviews with 801 Virginia adults, found that 76 percent support expansion, 18 percent oppose it and the remaining 6 percent are uncertain. The highest approval ratings were in Northern […]

Will thousands of new Medicaid enrollees inundate an already overloaded social services workforce?

BY: - September 20, 2018

Virginia’s 120 local social services departments are on the front lines when determining eligibility for benefit programs like Medicaid, and they’re trying to prepare for the wave of applicants they’ll likely see once Medicaid expansion hits the state in January. That could be a daunting task, though, as the state’s eligibility workers are already overworked and […]