While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them focus on streamlining health care for Virginians.
NORFOLK, Va. As 2024 approaches, a new year means new laws for Virginians.
The laws were passed in the 2023 session of the General Assembly by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and were signed into law by then-Governor Glenn Young.
While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them focus on streamlining health care for Virginians. In addition to these, one of the new laws makes changes to the state’s adoption system, while another affects how medical marijuana is regulated.
Here’s a look at Virginia’s new laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2024.
Home surfaces in the adoption process will be transferred
One of the new laws that takes effect Jan. 1 adds flexibility to Virginia’s adoption process, specifically the home study, an evaluation of a prospective adoptive family that usually takes two to three months.
The law allows the portability of a home study conducted by a local social services agency or licensed child placement agency between all localities, local boards, and licensed child placement agencies in the state.
The transfer must be requested by the prospective foster or adoptive parent and is subject to time limits or other laws and regulations.
Health insurance companies must replace hearing aids for minors
According to the law approved by the General Assembly in 2023, health insurers must reimburse hearing aids and related services for 18-year-olds or younger on the recommendation of an otolaryngologist.
The warranty includes one hearing aid for each disabled ear every 24 months up to a cost of $1,500. The new law applies to politics; contracts; and plans delivered, issued or renewed on and after January 1st.
The bill passed both the Senate and the House unanimously in February and was signed into law by Young in March.
Eligible licensed instructors are allowed to practice in other states
Another bill passed in 2023 paved the way for Virginia to join the Counseling Compact, allowing eligible licensed professional counselors to practice in other states, including as part of the compact without the need for multiple licenses.
The organization that runs the compact says the program is beneficial because it increases people’s access to care, ensures continuity of care when traveling or moving, and ensures quality counselors. Other states covered by the advisory agreement include Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and more.
The bill passed unanimously in the Virginia House in January, the Senate in February, and was signed into law by Young in March. More information about the compact can be found on the organization’s website.
New requirements for notifying enrollees of health insurance changes
One of the new laws coming into force is related to ensuring the continuity of health care when health insurance changes.
Specifically, the law requires health insurance companies that use a “provider panel” to contract with hospitals, doctors or other types of health care providers to create procedures for notifying enrollees when those providers are terminated.
Notification is required from providers who “provide health care services to the enrollee or have provided health care services to the enrollee during the six months preceding the notification.”
The law also requires notification of “the enrollee’s right, upon request, to continue receiving health care services in the manner prescribed by law after termination of the service provider by the operator’s provider panel.”
Change Oversight of Virginia’s Medical Marijuana Program
On January 1, oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program will transfer from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA).
The change in oversight stems from a bill passed in the 2023 General Assembly session and signed by Youngkin that would require the CCA to approve previously enacted regulations for medical processors, the legal term for a facility licensed to produce and distribute medicinal cannabis.
In addition, “current, active” licenses, certificates, and registrations issued by the Board of Pharmacy, as well as regulations approved prior to January 1, remain valid until the expiration date and are considered validly issued by the CCA Board of Directors.
Tap or click here to view the CCA’s Medical Marijuana Regulations.
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