The approach successful elsewhere brings government professional healthcare and social services and not-for-profit healthcare assets simultaneously to the schools and to the surrounding communities at a location centered around existing schools.
That model is a government and private not-for-profit services hub centered around schools in communities that need a lot of both. Lots of other goals fall into place and efficiencies are realized for both the community and the service providers if that is the approach.
That is not what Virginia has done in its 2019 Framework.
The rest of government and the not-for-profit sector are ignored and Virginia public schools are designed there to be increasingly responsible for things that they are not competent to do.
To see why, we only need to review the lists of persons who made up both the Advisory Committee and the Additional Contributors. Full of Ed.Ds and Ph.D’s in education, there was not a single person on either list with a job or career outside the field of education. Continue reading →
Nine states, including Virginia, have agreed to establish a major compensation fund to pay their private commercial and recreational fishing companies for damages caused by offshore wind turbines.
Three guesses where the money comes from. The announcement, made December 12, hints at it coming from project developers, but in Virginia of course that is a monopoly utility guaranteed by law to collect all costs from its customers. Dominion Energy Virginia’s planned 176-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) just got more expensive. In other cases and other states, also expect the bill to end up with energy consumers or taxpayers. Continue reading →
Eastern State Hospital. Courtesy Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development
by James C. Sherlock
Nov. 29 updates in blue.
Supply cannot begin to keep up with demand.
In this case, the consequences involve personal welfare and public safety. And they can be terrible in both cases.
Governor Youngkin will propose to the 2023 General Assembly additional funding and policy prescriptions for the state’s mental health system.
The state offers inpatient services, community-based government services, and Medicaid-funded services. Medicare offers payments to participating hospitals. Private insurances offer coverage.
I say “offer,” because much of what policy prescribes has proven difficult to fill in practice.
Virginia’s mental health system is in deep trouble because of shortages of personnel and facilities to absorb the very steep rates of increases in persons needing assistance.
The personnel problems are twofold and affect both government and private services.
Key personnel positions require trained specialists, the shortages of whom are manifest across the country; and
Working conditions in mental health care are very stressful, physically demanding and dangerous, driving away badly needed low skilled workers who can easily find jobs elsewhere.
Medicaid programs offer services that private facilities and practitioners, facing the same labor shortages, have proven in some combination unable or unwilling to provide at Medicaid reimbursement rates. State-contracted Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MMCOs) have not solved those problems.
So part of the answer is money, but we really don’t know how much. And in this case, money alone may not provide sufficient services to satisfy demand. Continue reading →
Courtesy of Virginia Department of Social Services
by James C. Sherlock
The flow of Afghan refugees into Virginia has been at a much higher volume than is generally appreciated.
I have data on Virginia resettlements of Afghanis from 2016 through the middle of 2021, when the total was 8,560.
The current total is far higher as a result of the Kabul airlift. A government survey reports that 41,000 of that group admitted to the U.S. settled in Texas, California and Virginia.
A significant majority of the Afghanis admitted between 2016 and the middle of 2021 have been granted Special Immigrant Visas and are lawful permanent residents.
Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) have been issued to those who took significant risks to support our military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan, were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or our coalition forces in Afghanistan, or are a family member of someone who did.
I think I speak for all Virginians when I welcome them and thank them for their service.
I have embarked on an effort to understand the numbers and impact of those refugees on our institutions, especially our public schools.
We have a glimpse into the near future in Virginia.
For those of my readers who thought that the left in the U.K. would sit still while the Cass Commissionexamines and reports on transgender care in Britain, think again.
Some transgender activists oppose the requirement for a clinical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before getting access to gender-altering drugs. They also oppose the participation of endocrinologists in the prescription of those drugs.
Takes too long. Too expensive. They might say no.
They have gotten in the U.K. what they demand. Witness a new U.K. National Health System “scheme,” as it is called, that is undoubtedly headed to the Virginia General Assembly.
It removes psychologists and psychiatrists from the loop in gender dysphoria diagnoses and gives the job to general practitioners, who can then directly prescribe hormone therapies without the participation of endocrinologists.
I reported that the Northam Administration added transgender services coverage to Medicaid on its last days in office. Is there anyone at all who doubts this new “scheme” will be added to Virginia Medicaid if the left gets in charge again? Continue reading →
I am on record as a persistent advocate of improving the quality of both schools and medical services for poor and minority citizens. It has been the main focus of my work for years.
In a directly related matter, we read, with different reactions depending upon our politics, of the struggles with uncontrolled immigration on border states on the one hand and D.C, New York City and Los Angeles on the other.
We are treated to the public spectacle of the mayors of sanctuary cities deploring massive new influxes of illegal border-crossers and asking for federal assistance. It provides one of the best object lessons in being careful what you ask for in recent public life.
All of that is interesting, but Virginians know that the problem is increasing. They know Virginia can’t fix it, and they want to know how Virginia will deal with it.
By law we owe illegals services. And we need to provide them efficiently and effectively both for humanitarian reasons and to ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily negatively affected.
We know it every time we see it. It is the time-honored Congressional ritual of “temporary” federal subsidies.
Such subsidies for nearly anything that are positioned originally as “temporary” tend to be extended and then often made permanent entitlements. As with everything else, the people who get subsidies care far more about preserving them than those who are not subsidized care about eliminating them.
For example, see the nation’s system for regulating peanut farming. The federal government subsidizes peanut farmers and their incomes by restricting supply.
The laws require a Federal license in order to grow peanuts. Very few licenses have been issued since the early 1940’s. The result: Americans pay 50% more for home-grown peanuts than they would if the market was not restricted.
I can find no record that President Carter raised the issue.
In this case, concerning federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, NBC news has alerted us to a pending issue.
During the open enrollment period for 2022 coverage, 307,946 Virginia residents enrolled in private qualified health plans (QHPs) through the Virginia exchange/marketplace.
It involves temporary federal subsidies to ACA Marketplace customers to keep demand high, supporting the prices that are paid to insurers and by insurers to hospitals and healthcare providers. These subsidies are set to expire.
The Kaiser Family Foundation published a study that shouts:
On average, premiums are set to rise by more than 50% for people getting health coverage through a (ACA) marketplace plan.
First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.
The argument now dividing the General Assembly on partisan lines is not whether to cut the state income tax, but for whom. The House of Delegates goes big with a broad tax cut that brings Virginia into line with other states, but the Senate only wants small changes aimed at smaller groups of taxpayers. Continue reading →
We scribblers at Bacon’s Rebellion pride ourselves on being leaders in the progressive thought process. In acknowledgment of the wisdom in my column that called out the observable inefficiency of government, I give you:
The city of Alexandria, Virginia, is joining a growing number of cities across the U.S. that are sending money to poor residents, no strings attached.
Bolstered by nearly $60 million in federal pandemic relief money, the independent jurisdiction in Northern Virginia plans to begin sending $500 debit cards to 150 families each month for two years, starting sometime this fall. The initiative was inspired partly by feedback city leaders solicited from residents about how the cash infusion should be used, says Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson.
The national conversation about cash assistance has been changing, Wilson says. Last year, former Stockton mayor Michael D. Tubbs launched a national network of city leaders called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. The coalition has grown to include mayors from almost 60 cities, from Los Angeles to Jackson, Mississippi. Mayors in the coalition are part of a generation of leaders who are thinking more about how to get immediate assistance to people in need, rather than forcing them into complex government programs that ration public assistance through layers of bureaucracy, Wilson says.
Per the Centers for Disease Control’s tracking, more than 4 million death certificates have been recorded in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 520,000 of them (those recorded so far) listed COVID as primary or contributing cause of death. The survivors of those individuals are eligible for 100% compensation for funeral expenses under the new round of federal COVID spending. Continue reading →
I decided last week in a paroxysm of good citizenship to contact the Virginia Inspector General (IG) to report wrongdoing by state officials.
I have a considerable list centered around the failure of many state officials to carry out their longstanding, formally-assigned duties pre-COVID to plan for a pandemic emergency and exercise those plans to mitigate the effects of such an occurrence.
My complaints are based on Virginia Executive Order No. 42Promulgation of the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan and Delegation of Authority. It was issued by Governor McDonnell and reissued by Governor Northam.
An actionable component of that Order is Hazard-Specific Annex #4 Pandemic Influenza Response (Non-Clinical) was published in August of 2012 (the Annex). It contained prescient predictions about the course of a pandemic and directed specific agencies to prepare and exercise specific plans. Despite the clear language of the Annex, the plans were not written, personnel were not trained, exercises could not be conducted and systems were not tested under simulated stresses of a pandemic.
Those failures cost unnecessarily severe losses of life, suffering and economic distress among the citizens.
The General Assembly session deadlines require final decisions on various revenue bills before the final budget bill is adopted, in theory keeping the two issues separate. What is good tax policy should not be driven by the need or greed of the appropriators. Continue reading →
We have discussed here the failures of the City of Richmond Public Schools (RPS) in educating its economically disadvantaged children, as well as the abysmal performance of Black children in its schools.
I intend to help readers understand how it manages to fail repeatedly even with major federal funding as guardrails and state oversight officially in place.
Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) such as RPS and its schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet state academic standards.
It is useful to drill down into the details of that program so that readers can understand how every school district in Virginia is supposed to plan and execute the education of poor kids to improve their chances of success.
The question that will remain when I finish will be accountability.
How does a system like the Richmond Public Schools continue to submit similar paperwork every year and every year fail to meet its stated goals? Where is the accountability? Why do the people of Richmond put up with it?Continue reading →
A 2016 memoir by J.D. Vance, a former Ohio resident, drew praise from conservatives for its laud of self-reliance and disciple and criticism from others for its long string of debunked clichés about people from the Central Appalachians.
The book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” was held up as being a great explainer as to why so many in the White lower classes voted for Trump.
Vance exalts the strength of self-discipline, family values and hard work. He complains that when he worked as a store clerk he resented it when people on welfare had cell phones but Vance couldn’t afford one. He ended up going to Yale Law School.
Vance also spends a lot of time complaining about his dysfunctional family including a nasty grandmother, a mother constantly stoned on alcohol and opioids and lots of divorce – in other words the “social rot” of the hillbilly lifestyle he so disdains.
His tie to Appalachia is a bit thin. He grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati but spent summers in Jackson in the mountains of East Kentucky.
Now director and child actor Ron Howard has made a feel-good movie from the book that stars Glenn Close and Amy Adams. It is getting lousy reviews. Continue reading →
The General Assembly is moving toward a second method of transferring money from electricity customers who can pay their bills to those who cannot. A Senate bill up today will allow Dominion Energy Virginia and Appalachian Power to simply add yet another “rider” to everybody’s monthly bill for their uncollected accounts receivable.
It is still possible the Assembly will reach into assumed excess profits on the part of Dominion and use $320 million of that to cover payments which have been allowed to lapse during the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported here a while back, that idea is being proposed as an amendment to the state budget, still being written behind closed doors.
But only Dominion has such a pot of cash hanging out there to raid, not the other utilities with hundreds of millions of unpaid electricity, gas, and water bills. And that approach may indeed not appear in the budget after all, leaving Senate Bill 5118 as the main path forward. The link is to the substitute, to which the following was added by a Senate Committee last week:
The Commission shall (emphasis added) allow for the timely recovery of bad debt obligations, reasonable late payment fees suspended, and prudently incurred implementation costs resulting from an (Emergency Debt Retirement Plan) for jurisdictional utilities, including through a rate adjustment clause or through base rates. The Commission may apply any applicable earnings test in the Commission rules governing utility rate applications and annual informational filings when assessing the recovery of such costs.
“Shall” is the key word, of course. If asked, the State Corporation Commission must say yes. And the provision allowing collection “through base rates” in effect does the same thing as the proposed budget language, allowing the SCC to apply any cash the utility has lying around during a rate case. It also could lead to an increase in base rates to cover the unpaid bills. Continue reading →
Bacon's Rebellion is Virginia's leading politically non-aligned portal for news, opinions and analysis about state, regional and local public policy. Read more about us here.
Fund the Rebellion
Shake up the status quo!
Your contributions will be used to pay for faster download speeds and grow readership. Make a one-time donation by credit card or contribute a small sum monthly.
Can't wait until tomorrow for your Bacon's Rebellion fix?
Search Bacon’s Rebellion
The Jefferson Council: Protecting Thomas Jefferson’s Legacy at the University of Virginia
Want More Unfiltered News?
Check out the Bacon’s Rebellion News Feed, linking to raw and unexpurgated news and commentary from Virginia blogs, governments, trade associations, and advocacy groups.
We welcome a broad spectrum of views. If you would like to submit an op-ed for publication in Bacon’s Rebellion, contact editor/publisher Jim Bacon at jabacon[at]baconsrebellion.com (substituting “@” for “at”).
Forgot Your Password?
Shoot me an email and I'll generate a new password for you.