Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up.
The Daily featured the story of Wise County resident Amanda Sturgill on Monday’s episode, which highlighted the growing practice of hospitals practice of suing patients for payment. Sturgill was sued by Ballad Health after falling behind on medical bills that arose from her teenage daughter’s back surgery. Ballad Health has brought at least 44,000 lawsuits against patients since 2009.
Five things you need to know today …
- Navy awards submarine contract to Virginia companies– The Navy has awarded a $22.2 billion contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat, which will build the submarines in a partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding. The contact is the largest shipbuilding contract ever, easily surpassing a $17.6 billion agreement awarded to the company in 2014. The project will join several other massive military contracts already underway with the two companies, who are also working on two aircraft carriers and a fleet of ballistic missile submarines. –Daily Press
- Richmond School Board approves proposal– The Richmond School Board approved a new rezoning proposal which did not include the combination of majority-white and majority-black schools in the city’s West End. The proposed pairing has been a contentious issue garnering input from thousands of constituents on both sides of the plan and public hearings that lasted several hours. Supporters lauded it as an attempt to tackle racial education inequity while detractors deemed it a “social experiment.” The board is still considering a similar proposal for the city’s North Side and is scheduled to make a final decision on Dec. 16th. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Delegate asks state AG for opinion on Second Amendment “sanctuaries”– Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) sent a letter to the Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D), asking for a formal opinion on the state’s growing Second Amendment sanctuary trend. Jones said clarification and guidance from Attorney General Mark Herring’s (D) office could help local officials being pressed by some constituents to declare their opposition to any new gun safety legislation. Herring’s office released a statement last month in response to media inquiries where he said the new resolutions “appear to be nothing more than symbolic” but hasn’t yet said anything more on the subject. -Virginia Mercury
- Developments in Virginia’s psychiatric crisis– The Virginia Department of Medicine Assistant Services has developed a new methodology for distributing federal and state money that aims to incentivize private hospitals to take in more involuntary psychiatric patients. The development comes after the state legislature directed the agency to come with new ways of disbursing the funds, as Virginia tries to tackle the crisis in the state’s public psychiatric hospitals. Private hospitals already accept about three-quarters involuntary psychiatric patients in the state, but the Department of Medical Assistance Services is pushing them to take on more as the state struggles to find enough beds for patients placed on an involuntary hold. –Richmond Times-Dispatch
- McEachin announces App Challenge winners– Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the winners of the 4th District’s 2019 Congressional Apps Challenge. Amayr Babar, Ali Houssain Sareini, and Pete Ngwa of Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake will represent Virginia’s 4th Congressional District in the prestigious Congressional App Challenge in the spring. They won with their application “KAMI” which aims to help patients with Alzheimer’s and ease the workload of healthcare professionals. –Rep. McEachin