Northam signs several health care bills into law

Several health care-related bills were recently passed by both the House and Senate during the 2020 Special Session and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam.

“In August, I called legislators back into session to tackle some of our Commonwealth’s most pressing challenges,” Northam said in a statement. “This revised state budget will do tremendous good as we battle COVID-19 and work together to continue building a stronger, fairer Virginia. I am proud of the meaningful progress we made to enhance police accountability, advance criminal justice reform, invest in our economic recovery, and provide critical relief to Virginians amid the ongoing public health crisis. I thank the General Assembly for their ongoing partnership in delivering for the people of our Commonwealth.”


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House Bill 5046 was approved by Gov. Ralph Northam Monday and directs the Board of Medical Services to amend the state plan for medical services provided through telemedicine services. The bill specifies that the origination site can be wherever the patient is located, whether it’s in a health care setting or at home.

Northam also signed HB 5048 which requires the Department of Health to make information about outbreaks of communicable diseases at medical care facilities, schools, residential care or day care programs available to the public. The information must be posted on a website maintained by the department. The information listed must include the name of the location of the outbreak, the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths resulting from the communicable disease.

The governor also signed HB 5059 which protects hospices, home care organizations, private providers, assisted living facilities and adult day care centers from civil liabilities related to the COVID-19 health emergency. These organizations can’t be held liable for any injury or wrongful death occurring during a public health emergency or disaster if the issue is related to lack of resources or the ability to provide care due to those circumstances.

“Today we are one step closer to completing our Special Session and delivering on our pledge to provide a strong response to COVID-19, as well as address police and criminal justice reform,” Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn said in a statement. “I am proud of what the General Assembly has accomplished thus far — we will finish our work and fulfill our promise to Virginians.”

The SB 5038 was signed into law this week. It directs the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services to develop and establish a mental health awareness response and community understanding services alert system through the Commonwealth, called a Marcus alert. The Marcus alert will be developed under the passage of HB 5043  which directs the DBHDS, in collaboration with DCJS, law enforcement, and other stakeholders, to submit a plan for the establishment of a Marcus alert system no later than July 1, 2021.