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Joint Commission on Health Care Receives Updates on Key Health Indicators, Overview of Brain Injury Services in Virginia

The Joint Commission on Health Care met on August 23 and received a staff briefing on the Commission’s Health Care Dashboard, which tracks a variety of metrics associated with the Commission’s overall objectives of accessibility, affordability, and quality.  Staff noted that lags in collecting data mean that the 2023 metrics are generally derived from 2020-2021 information and must be interpreted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  During the most recent data reporting period, Virginia made improvements in reducing its percentage of uninsured adults and children, as well as in reducing the percentage of adults who avoided medical care due to cost and the percentage of individuals in families with high out-of-pocket medical costs relative to annual income.  Virginia also demonstrated improvements in reducing preventable hospital admissions.  Virginia’s percentage of mothers who received late or no prenatal care worsened, as did the median rate of successful return to home and community from a skilled nursing facility.  Staff noted that disparities in these key indicators of health by race and ethnicity and income persist; members requested additional analysis of the data by region as well as further detail as to specific barriers to care, such as language access or transportation.

Staff from the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) provided an overview of their agencies’ services for individuals with brain injuries.  DARS Deputy Director Marcia DuBois explained that DARS provides funding to nine service providers, who provide case management, clubhouse and day programs, resource coordination, and consultation and referral services to individuals with brain injuries.  Twelve Virginia counties are not served, although efforts are underway to secure additional state funding to expand services.  DMAS Senior Advisor Brian Campbell updated Commission members on the Medicaid-funded services provided for individuals with a brain injury, which encompass short-term and acute care, long-term services and supports, and home- and community-based services.  At the direction of the 2022 General Assembly, DMAS updated the State Plan for Medical Assistance to incorporate targeted case management services for individuals with severe traumatic brain injury, and is in the process of implementation, with provider enrollment beginning this month and services planned to be delivered beginning in October.  The legislature also directed DMAS to work with stakeholders to develop a plan for a neurobehavioral science unit and a waiver program for individuals with brain injury and neuro-cognitive disorders, to include a rate structure.  Draft rates have been developed; DMAS’s November 2022 progress report indicated that it would request funding for start-up activities in the fall 2023 budget development process.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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