Virginia Senators seek funding extension for affordable internet program

Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined 30 of their colleagues in urging leadership to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

This program was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure law and advocated for by the Senators to lower high speed internet costs for low-income Americans.

The program currently enrolls 420,000 Virginians with another one million households eligible.

The letter addressed to Congressional leaders sites the need for the program which serves 21 million families with financial assistance to help bridge the digital divide so they can afford services they need for work, school, health care and more.

The program provides a monthly discount of up to $30.00 off internet service and equipment.

Qualifying rural communities and Tribal Lands may receive a monthly discount of up to $75.00.

Participants also can receive a one time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Without an extension, the 21 million families that rely on the program could lose affordable broadband services.

A lapse in funding could also cause previously enrolled families to reenroll which would create unnecessary obstacles.

Virginians can go to GetInternet.gov to sign up and find participating providers in the area.

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VA Senators announce $1.4 million in funding for mental health

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced an additional $1.4 million in federal funding to expand access to mental health care in Virginia.

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a grant program to provide comprehensive, community based mental health services to adults and children with significant mental health conditions.

The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program has provided over $25 million to the commonwealth during the 2023 Fiscal Year.

The Senators stated, “Every Virginian deserves access to high-quality, affordable mental health care. The last few years have underscored the importance of access to mental health services, and we’re glad this funding will help more Virginians reach the care they need.”

To view the press release from the Senators, click here.

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Warner introduces advance care planning act

Senator Mark Warner introduced the bipartisan Improving Access to Advance Care Planning Act with Senator Susan Collins.

The goal is to expand access to critical advance care planning services in Medicare which will allow people with serious illnesses to plan for their care and have their choices honored.

The act will allow social workers to provide ACP services, remove beneficiary cost-sharing, increase provider education on ACP codes, and improve reporting of barriers to ACP services.

Senator Warner first introduced legislation to improve planning options for patients in 2015.

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Sen. Warner leads telehealth legislation

Senator Mark Warner led a bipartisan effort to introduce the Kidney Health Connect Act which would allow dialysis clinics to act as originating sites for telehealth services.

The bill was cosponsored by Sen. John Barrasso M.D. (R-WY) and Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Dan Kildee (D-MI), John Joyce M.D. (R-PA), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE).

The legislation also removes a 20% facility fee coinsurance obligation for patients utilizing telehealth services at the clinic.

This will help patients avoid additional costs and keep initial costs lower.

This effort is in addition to a 2018 initiative which expanded telehealth to home dialysis.

Warner originally co-sponsored a bill in 2016 which was reintroduced in 2021 advocating for telehealth to ease access to healthcare.

To view a copy of the bill, click here.

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Sen. Warner and Kaine address the infant formula shortage

An email from Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine addresses the infant formula shortage in Virginia and across the country.

The two Senators and 28 other lawmakers are calling on infant formula manufacturers to make every effort possible to get parents the formula they need.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the President of the Infant Nutrition Council of America asking that the problem be addressed immediately.

According to Warner the shortage is being blamed on the recent recall following contaminated formula from major manufacturer Abbott Nutrition.

That and the supply chain issues are being blamed for the shortage.

Warner also sees adding to the 7 National Food and Drug Administration inspectors as a partial solution.

He also is asking producers to increase their production of formula.

Virginia is looking into possibly importing formula from other sources as well.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Sen. Mark Warner works from home with COVID

An email from the Communications Director for Virginia Democratic U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner announced a health issue.

The Senator has tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

The email went on to state that the Senator was glad to be vaccinated and has been boosted.

Warner’s symptoms are reported to be extremely mild because of those precautions.

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines Warner will work from home during his isolation.

The work at home order is recommended by the attending physician as well.

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NGA celebrates 25 years

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to recognize the 25th anniversary of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Senator Mark Warner co-sponsored the bill and is the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The NGA headquarters are also located in his district, in Springfield, Virginia.

The intelligence agency collects, analyzes and distributes geospatial information to service members and politicians across the country.

Senator Warner praised their efforts in a statement and claimed the agency’s work is crucial to protecting American citizens and enhancing national security. 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Sen. Warner starts a tour in Front Royal

front royal town hall

On Monday Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. Sen. Mark Warner will visit Front Royal to begin a tour of the commonwealth.

The Senator will participate in a series of meetings and discussions on the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act.

The first stop of this tour will be at the Virginia Inland Port at 7685 Winchester Road Front Royal.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.