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HomeVaCCRA Advocacy Toolkit

Virginia Continuing Care Residents Association

An Education & Advocacy Organization


Advocacy Toolkit


Established in 2002, VACCRA is the only statewide educational and advocacy residents’ association whose mission it is to promote, protect, empower and better the lives of residents through the exchange of information with other residents of CCRCs in the Commonwealth of Virginia, other CCRC resident associations among the states and in partnership with NaCCRA (National Continuing Care Residents’ Association), AARP Advocacy, and Leading Age/Virginia and National.
VaCCRA represents the voices of CCRC residents in matters of public policy issues before Virginia regulators and legislators on matters of finance and quality of life issues.

 Advocacy:
  1. Supports legislation to control runaway prescription drug pricing (ongoing partnership with AARP Advocacy)
  2. Supported/ succeeded in advocating Congress to extending the 7.5% Medical Threshold for  Income Tax Deduction
  3. Supports legislation creating Independent Living Ombudsman & Complaint line in Virginia
  4. Advocates improving access to Medicare: H.R. 1682 and S.B. 753  Improving Access to Medicare  Coverage Act of 2019 A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to count a period of receipt of outpatient observation services in a hospital toward satisfying the 3-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing facility services under Medicare.
  5. Supports NaCCRA statement Opposing Immunity for Nursing Homes during the quarantine period of the Covid-19 Crisis
  6. Promotes opportunities to participate in Lobby Day with Leading Age/Virginia  and public comment on pending legislation (redistricting, gun safety, medical  tax deductions, Medicare standards, long term care insurance premiums, responsible pricing for prescription drugs, the need for transparency in reporting virus cases among retirement communities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  7. Hosts chapter/community meetings with area legislators
Quality of Life Issues:  
  1. Advocates Resident Membership (voice and vote) on Virginia’s CCRC Corporate Boards of Directors (VaCCRA Statement In Support of 2018)
  2. Addition of key communities to VaCCRA Membership: Covenant Woods, Lakewood, Cedarfield.    
Educational/ Exchange of Information:
  1. Publication of quarterly newsletter VaCCRA News
  2. Hosts quality conferences semi-annually on key issues:
    • Coming bundling of medical billing
    • Strategic Trends for CCRCs
    • Preview of House Document 6: Regulation of Independent Living
    • Communities with Recommendations, most notably for an Independent Living Ombudsman and a Complaint Line
    • Introduction of Birdsong Tablet for Seniors
  3. Works annually with Leading Age/Virginia to offer platform for updates on senior issues and pending state and national legislation
  4. Attends national NaCCRA and Leading Age conferences
To sum up, VaCCRA is the only statewide residents’ association  advocating for stakeholder rights related to the financial security and quality of life for residents of continuing care communities;
  • VaCCRA makes our support or opposition of legislation known to our legislators, and encourages our members to do the same individually;
  • We network with organizations, both private and governmental; engaged in the regulation or governance of CCRCs
  • Through our publications, web presence and email communications we disseminate information of general interest on these topics to pour members statewide through their communities;
  • And VaCCRA fosters understanding of the CCRC concept as being beneficial and socially desirable.

From Idea to Law: The Process in Virginia in Brief
An idea for a new law or a change in an existing one requires a legislator or legislators to sponsor it in the form of a bill. It is assigned by number to a committee for discussion. This is the point at which the public can influence it, and committee members can offer amendments.
Once (and if) the committee decides that there is basis for a new law, the bill is reported to the House of Delegates or the Senate. The bill is returned to the chamber into which it was first introduced and read or printed in the calendar three times. It can be amended and debated after the second reading. At the third reading, members vote to pass or defeat the bill. If it passes, it goes to the opposite chamber and follows the same process. If it passes in both houses with the exact same wording, it is sent to the Governor.
The Governor may sign it (it is then law) or send it back with suggested amendments. If amendments are proposed and both houses agree, the bill becomes law. If the Governor vetoes the bill, the Senate and House have a chance to vote to overrule the Governor by having 2/3 of the members of each house vote to overrule. If that fails, the bill is dead. Bills that are approved in regular session, become law on July 1st.
How You Can Take Action


VaCCRA will send alerts to its members requesting action (support or oppose) on bills. Due to the Virginia General Assembly’s legislative schedule and the calendar and schedule of policy committee hearings, time is always of the essence. A quick response from VaCCRA members to an email alert urging action is appreciated. In addition to a description of the issues under consideration, these emails from VaCCRA will include a suggested template letter for members to use as a basis for their response.


In addition to our legislative alerts, there are other ways to make sure your voice is heard by your Legislator. Calling their office or sending letters to express your support or opposition to a particular bill is very important. Legislators do pay attention to those calls and letters, especially when the communication comes from a constituent or resident of their district.
Contacting Legislators
If you do not know who your representatives are, use this convenient link:
https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
It will take you directly to the Who’s my Legislator page:
 
Enter your zip code or full address and click “FIND NOW”.
Your State Delegate and State Senator as well as your US Congressional Representatives. Links for email addresses and additional information for each legislator is provided.  

Letters regarding a particular bill should be focused:
  • Identify the bill in a subject line. For example, “Re: SB 939”
  • In the first paragraph of your letter state your connection: “I am a resident of XYZ CCRC.” Or if you are a constituent, say so: “I am a resident of XYZ CCRC located in your district”
  • State the issue(s) of concern to you. Personalize the letter with details of your own situation as appropriate.
  • Get to know your legislators and their staff
Your legislators and their staff want to hear from you. They are interested in developing resources in their districts that can advise them on issues of importance to seniors. That resource could be you!  Here are a few simple steps to help you initiate and develop a relationship with your legislators and their staff:
  • Subscribe to their newsletter
  • Attend their town hall meetings
  • Visit them in their local field office
  • Invite them to tour your CCRC
  • Ask them to make a presentation to your residents
In initiating contacts, remember to plan ahead.
  • Research your legislator’s website from the separate resources below to learn about their particular interests and their membership on legislative committees.
  • Organize your thoughts around your three most important points.
  • Avoid unnecessary chitchat.
  • As you leave, give them two copies of a brief fact sheet about your most important points or your CCRC.
  • Follow-up with a thank-you email or letter.
Resources
General sources of Virginia legislative information
Visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System (https://lis.virginia.gov/) for bill text, history, votes from 1994 to the present.
Visit the Virginia General Assembly website (https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/)  to find information on Assembly members and committees and track Assembly legislation.
Visit the Virginia State Senate website (https://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php) to find information on Senate members and committees.
Visit the Virginia House of Delegates website
https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php?district_address&district_phone&district_fax to find information on House of Delegates members, their districts and committee service
The source for Virginia’s Congressional Delegation:
https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_congressional_delegations_from_Virginia