HARRISONBURG — Dr. Harry Gewanter is still in a state of shock that House Bill 2126, which changes an insurance requirement known as “step therapy,” was signed by Gov. Ralph Northam this week.
The bill, introduced by Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, was signed Wednesday, making Virginia the 20th state to improve insurance protocol, which will help patients receive the medication they need more efficiently.
Step therapy, also known as “fail first” protocols, is implemented by insurance companies and requires patients to try and fail on one or more less expensive medications before they can receive the medication originally prescribed by their doctor.
“This should be a decision between the patient and doctor — not the insurance,” said Gewanter, a Richmond pediatric rheumatologist of around 38 years. “It’s just one more barrier to treatment and one more person part of the decision process.”
Harry Gewanter column: When your doctor is not the one deciding your treatment...
February 15, 2019
Every day a Virginia doctor and patient discuss and determine the best treatment given the specifics of the patient’s situation, only to have someone else decide what care the patient will actually receive. Why? Because the doctor then has to discover what treatment the insurer or pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) considers appropriate and will actually cover. While this one-size-fits-all decision-making works for some patients, it often falls short for the 1 in 5 patients with complex or chronic conditions. One of these practices, allegedly designed to save money, is called step therapy, better known as “fail first.”
Fail-first protocols require a patient to fail certain medications in step-wise fashion before (hopefully) receiving the medication the patient and doctor concluded was most appropriate, given the circumstances. Even when a patient has previously failed a medicine and changes insurance companies, he or she might be required to repeat these inadequate treatments. The subsequent loss of disease control may then result in more medical visits, more time away from work or school, more potentially permanent organ damage, or a variety of other complications, both short- and long-term.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute part of new state legislation enacted for the testing and use of automated-vehicle technologies
June 11, 2016
On June 9, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a new bill designed to ensure Virginia consumers can purchase vehicles that will be equipped with automated technologies and will have access to driving technologies that promote advanced safety standards. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will take part in the testing and use of the new technologies.
The legislation states that motor vehicles may be equipped with visual displays of moving images if the equipment is factory-installed and has an interlock device that disables the equipment when the human driver is performing the driving task. While the current law allows a visual display in a motor vehicle, the new bill allows the display of moving images to be viewed while an automated driving system is activated.
“Making Virginia a leader in emerging industries like autonomous vehicles is an essential part of our efforts to grow and diversify our economy,” McAuliffe said. “I am proud of the progress we are making in Richmond and at great centers of research and innovation like Virginia Tech to pave the way for a new generation of automotive advancements and economic growth.”
Virginia Tech Daily
Glenn Davis column: Virginia’s patients need more cannabis options
October 28, 2018
For years, patient advocates, led by a courageous group of Virginia parents, made the case for legal access to cannabidiol (CBD) and THC-A oils for those suffering from intractable epilepsy. These are heavily regulated cannabis compounds that have significant positive medical benefits, but don’t make people feel “stoned.”
Their stories were both heartbreaking and inspiring. In fact, I had only been in the General Assembly for a matter of weeks in 2015 when a beautiful young girl suffered a seizure in front of a state Senate committee considering the matter.
It was obvious to many, including those who had previously never seriously considered this issue, that real people were hurting, and they needed our help.
Thankfully, we came together, across party lines, and acted. That winter the General Assembly approved access to CBD and THC-A oils for individuals like that young girl. Based on the language in that initial legislation, Virginia would have a potential patient population of approximately 27,000.
Last year, however, we took it much further. The 2018 legislation opened up access significantly.
Christmas comes early as 500 new jobs head for Danville
December 20, 2018
A debt collection agency is bringing 500 new jobs to Danville next year, Gov. Ralph Northam announced at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on Thursday morning.
The PRA Group, a Norfolk-based debt collection agency, will locate in the former Telvista building in Airside Park on Cane Creek Boulevard. The company plans to make a capital investment of $15.1 million to establish a new call center in Danville.
Pay for the positions will average about $38,000 per year, Northam said. Hiring will begin in the spring.
The firm plans to have 375 workers by the end of its first year, 425 by the end of the second, and as many as 500 by the end of its third year.
“Christmas is certainly coming early to Danville,” Mayor Alonzo Jones told officials and community leaders at the announcement. “You can feel the excitement in the air.”
Danville Register & Bee
Glenn Davis: Tax cuts will help Virginia's small businesses
December 3, 2017
AFTER A LONG, BUSY year, small business owners are ready for one final push. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, they’re eager to see tax cuts before Christmas.
Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have hammered out drafts of a much-needed tax bill. House Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the first step toward long-overdue tax relief. As the Senate completes tax reform, lawmakers need to ensure that all small businesses get the tax relief they deserve.
Right now, millions of small businesses are socked with sky-high individual rates. At just about 40 percent, the federal take applies regardless of how many paychecks owners have to cut. Factor in additional state and local taxes, plus the lost time and income small businesses have to devote to tax time each year, and owners can end up working for less than half of what they make.
Tax rates like that are patently unfair, and not just for those footing the bill. High taxes simply drain the lifeblood out of our small business economy, which creates countless jobs for hardworking Americans. All small businesses want to grow, and the American people count on that growth for stable, sustainable prosperity.
Delegate Glenn Davis Introduces Blockchain To State Record Keeping
January 31, 2018
Blockchain is a relatively new word in the cyber world and a very novel technology. Record keeping has historically evolved with emerging technology. From chiseling stone in Roman times to sheets of paper during the days before computers, keeping records, especially government records, has always utilized the most advanced technology in the world. With the advent of the internet and the beginning of electronic record keeping in the 1950s, more widely adopted in the 1970s, the proliferation of digital technology and digital record keeping is something that is used by everyone nowadays. Though, a resolution introduced into the Virginia General Assembly is set to change the way government keeps its mounds of records.
Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) has proposed a House Joint Resolution to study blockchain technology in state record keeping and the eventual implementation thereof. Blockchain is typically known by those who follow the wild roller coaster of the Bitcoin market. The technology is used with a continuously growing list of records which are linked together using very secure and undecipherable cryptography. Each block in the chain is marked with a link to a previous block in the sequence, a timestamp, and the subsequent transaction data. Through this design of record keeping, blockchain is resistant to modification and permanently verifiable.
The Republican Standard
Editorial: The most interesting candidate for lieutenant governor
June 9, 2017
The most interesting candidate running on either side in the June 13 primary is also one of the least-funded candidates seeking the least-important office.
Nonetheless, Glenn Davis, one of three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, is talking about some issues that are worth looking at, no matter who wins on Tuesday.
The Republican contest for lieutenant governor is a particularly bizarre affair. Bryce Reeves says he’s tough on terrorism. (And presiding over the state Senate fights terrorism how?) Meanwhile, he’s subpoenaed rival Jill Vogel, alleging that she or someone close to her is behind an anonymous email accusing Reeves of having an affair. Reeves and Vogel — or at least their lawyers — will face off in a court hearing today Friday, four days before voters render their judgement in the Republican primary.
And then there’s Davis, who’s talking about graphene and market-based sourcing taxes.
We’ll admit that anonymous gossip and Internet skullduggery are more interesting topics. Graphene and market-based sourcing taxes, though, might actually make a difference in our lives — especially the lives of people in Southwest Virginia.
The Roanoke Times
Davis: A way forward on Medicaid
August 31, 2014
In 1995, faced with a broken welfare system, then-Gov. George Allen rolled out landmark reform legislation. It provided additional services for Virginians on welfare, including up-front temporary cash assistance, child care, regional transportation and training and education.
It eliminated the disincentives that made it harder for people to work their way off welfare. It required personal responsibility statements, community service hours for "able-bodied and able-minded" people, and other mandates, many needing federal waivers.
All of which combined to create a new expectation that welfare was temporary, not a permanent way of life.
In the first two years of this bipartisan reform, the amount of welfare benefits requested decreased by $101 million, producing a net taxpayer savings of $57 million.
Almost 20 years later, Virginia faces a similar situation with its Medicaid system. In a few weeks, the Virginia House of Delegates will reconvene in Richmond for a special session.
Medicaid expansion is nothing new in the commonwealth. The General Assembly has been expanding Medicaid almost every year for decades.