After successfully winning new local money to hire an additional dentist in to serve Northern VA, VOICE leaders found themselves on the defensive when Governor Kaine proposed over $9 million in cuts to state dental funding. VOICE swiftly organized more than 300 leaders to ride buses down to Richmond to deliver the message that the state must play a role in providing affordable healthcare. We held an action that 18 VA Senate and House leaders attended including 3 budget conferees. In the end we were able to preserve the $9 million in the FY2011 budget ensuring that thousands of low-income children and adults in the Commonwealth have access to critical dental care services.
We also researched and found out that Virginia had not applied for all of the federal money that was available to them through TANF. We worked with VA Senate and House leaders to press the Commonwealth of VA to secure $79 million in federal TANF Emergency Funds, including $5 million to provide emergency dental care to 7,000 low-income adults through VA Health Care Foundation (VHCF). While the Federal government approved the VHCF Emergency Dental Pilot on June 16th, the requirement that all funds be expended before September 30th led VHCF officials not to proceed with the program.