New Virginia law to take effect January 1, 2024

While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them center on streamlining health care for Virginians.

NORFOLK, Va. With 2024 approaching, a new year means some new laws for Virginians.

The laws were passed in the 2023 General Assembly session by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Delegates, then signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

While the new laws aren’t drastic changes, most of them center on streamlining health care for Virginians. Besides those, one of the new laws makes changes to the state’s adoption system, while the other will affect how medical marijuana is regulated.

Here’s a look at the new laws in Virginia that will take effect on January 1, 2024.

Home studies in the adoption process will be transferable

One of the new laws that will take effect on Jan. 1 will add flexibility to the adoption process in Virginia, particularly home studies, an assessment of a prospective adoptive family that typically takes two to three months.

The law would allow home studies conducted by a local board of social services or licensed child-placing agency to be transferred between all localities, local boards, and licensed child-placing agencies within of the state.

The transfer must be requested by the prospective foster or adoptive parent, and is subject to any time limits or other laws and regulations.

Health insurers are required to cover hearing aids for minors

Under a law passed in the 2023 General Assembly session, health insurers would have to provide coverage for hearing aids and related services for people 18 years of age or younger when recommended by an otolaryngologist.

Coverage includes one hearing aid for each hearing impairment every 24 months, up to a cost of $1,500. The new law will apply to policies; contracts; and plans delivered, issued, or renewed on and after Jan. 1.

The legislation passed the Senate and House unanimously in February and was signed by Youngkin in March.

Qualified licensed counselors will be allowed to practice in other states

Another law passed in 2023 allowed Virginia to join the Counseling Compact, allowing qualified licensed professional counselors to practice in other states that are also part of the compact without requiring multiple licenses.

The organization that runs the agreement says the program is beneficial by increasing people’s access to care, ensuring continuity of care when traveling or moving, and ensuring quality counselors. Other states that are in the Counseling Compact include Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and more.

The legislation passed unanimously in the Virginia House in January, the Senate in February, and was signed by Youngkin in March. More information about the compact can be found on the organization’s website.

New requirements for enrollee notification of health insurance changes

One of the new laws that will go into effect has to do with ensuring continuity of health care when there are changes in health insurance.

Specifically, the law requires health insurance companies that use a “provider panel” of a certain type of contract with hospitals, physicians or other types of health care providers to establish procedure for notifying enrollees when those providers are terminated.

Notification is required for providers who “provide health care services to the enrollee or provided health care services to the enrollee in the six months prior to the notice.”

The law also requires notification of “an enrollee’s right upon request to continue to receive health care services as provided by law following the provider’s termination from the carrier’s provider panel.”

Oversight change in Virginia’s medical marijuana program

On January 1, oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program will shift from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA).

The change in administration is the result of a bill passed in the 2023 General Assembly session and signed by Youngkin, which would require the CCA to adopt previously adopted regulations of pharmaceutical processors, a legal term for a facility which is permitted to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana.

Additionally, “valid, active” permits, certifications and registrations issued by the Board of Pharmacy, as well as regulations adopted prior to January 1, will continue to be valid until the expiration date of those it is legally deemed to have been issued by the CCA board.

Tap or click here for CCA regulations on medical marijuana.

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