Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday made it easier for Medicaid recipients to access medical care amid the current public health crisis by signing Executive Order Fifty-Eight.

This order is a companion to the COVID-19 relief package approved last Wednesday by the General Assembly and will give the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) flexibility to make critical services more accessible to people who need them as a result of the pandemic.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our north star has been protecting the health and safety of all Virginians,” said Northam. “These actions will give DMAS more flexibility to assist the hundreds of thousands of people in this Commonwealth who get their health coverage through Medicaid. We will remain focused on increasing access to medical care for vulnerable populations, especially during this critical time.”

The executive order eliminates copayments for individuals receiving coverage through the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) program. The order also ensures that Medicaid members can obtain replacements for prosthetics, orthotics and other durable medical equipment and supplies that are lost or damaged without requiring in-person verifications or paperwork.

The executive order streamlines the process for admitting individuals to a nursing facility by suspending preadmission screening requirements.

The order also allows personal care, respite and companion providers to work for up to 60 days, rather than the current 30 days, while background checks are conducted. Supervision and training requirements still apply.

The order waives the 30-day public notice and comment period requirements for DMAS, so the agency can issue Medicaid memos to healthcare providers to ensure they receive immediate information on flexibilities in access to care.

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