Mental health counseling is available to crime victims and to survivors of homicide victims with the goal of returning the victim to baseline functioning.
Counseling must be provided by a medical doctor, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, or professional counselor licensed pursuant to Title 54.1, Chapters 35 through 37, Code of Virginia, or by a clinical nurse specialist who renders mental health services, pursuant to Title 54.1, Chapter 30, Code of Virginia. Individuals receiving treatment outside of the Commonwealth must be served by a provider licensed in the state or country where services are rendered.
In order to consider counseling expenses reasonable and appropriate, VVF expects treatment rendered to be crime-centered and time-specific.
Outpatient mental health counseling shall be limited to forty (40) sessions per claim, beginning on the date of the first counseling session. Sessions exclusively for the purposes of medication management will be counted in the 40-session limit and will be considered in conjunction with mental health treatment.
In cases of exigent circumstances; however, there shall be a contingency to allow for the approval of more than forty (40) sessions per claim. Approval in these circumstances must be granted by the Fund’s Director.
Mental health counseling for parents/family of minor child victims is allowable as long as the counseling is focused on the victim and the crime incident. Court-ordered counseling for parents or family members will not be considered.
For counseling purposes, a minor child who is a witness of violence involving a caretaker is considered as a primary victim. Their presence at the scene must be confirmed by a law-enforcement agency.
Inpatient mental health counseling shall be considered upon receipt of the practitioner’s notes.
Mental health counseling is available for a surviving spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, grandchild or child, including posthumous children, of a victim of a crime who died as a direct result of such crime. § 19.2-368.4 (A)(2)(4)
Benefits are capped at $3,500 per eligible survivor, and shall not exceed $35,000 in the aggregate. §§ 19.2-368.11:1 (E)(v) and 19.2-368.11:1 (H)
Upon recommendation, explanation, and commitment of monitoring by the licensed healthcare provider, VVF will consider up to 20 sessions of alternative therapies. This must be in conjunction with treatment provided by a licensed mental health provider.
Therapies should have independent empirical evidence supporting their safety and use and practitioners should be licensed to perform the services. This may include, but is not limited to acupuncture, art therapy, biofeedback, self-defense classes, and therapeutic riding camp.
The victim’s licensed healthcare provider must provide, in writing, the reason for the alternative therapy, the expected duration, empirical evidence of success for crime victims, and the anticipated benefit of the therapy. The provider must provide data showing the victim attended treatment and information about the outcome of their participation.
- A Memorandum of Agreement on file with the provider
- A W9 Form completed
- Completed Mental Health Treatment Request Form
- Itemized, detailed bills for each date of service (not a HICF)
- Insurance Remittance documentation
- Explanation of benefits from automobile insurance (if applicable)
§ 19.2-368.6 of the Virginia Code directs that Health care providers, as defined in § 8.01-581.1, shall provide medical and hospital reports relating to the diagnosis and treatment of the injury upon which the claim is based to the Commission, upon request.
Questions about the status of an account should be directed to Status@VirginiaVictimsFund.org.
Please note: VVF is unable to provide status to any providers without having received a Memorandum of Agreement first.
Code of Virginia § 19.2-368.11:1(G) states that the Virginia Victims Fund is the payer of last resort. This statute requires claimants to exhaust all available collateral resources before VVF can make payment. The resources relevant in each claim depend on both the crime type and the resources available to the victim.
VVF can only pay for services after they are rendered. VVF never pre-authorizes payment of any expenses. However, providers may direct bill immediately after services are rendered.
Code of Virginia § 19.2-368.3 states that A provider who accepts payment from the Virginia Victims Fund for a service accepts VVF's rates as payment in full and cannot bill a claimant any more for that service.
Please Note: VVF does not pay for missed or cancelled appointments
Sometimes it is necessary for VVF to request additional reductions when the value of the claim exceeds VVF’s $35,000 maximum allowable award amount and the victim will suffer undue financial hardship without further assistance. If this occurs, VVF will send a compromise proposal letter with an amount VVF is able to consider for a specific expense. No payment will be made until an agreement is reached.
Please note: for incidents occurring prior to July 1, 2019, the maximum allowable award is $25,000.
Per the Code of Virginia, it is illegal for providers to place an account in collections that is under consideration at the Virginia Victims Fund.
§ 19.2-368.5:2. Effect of filing a claim; stay of debt collection activities by health care providers.
A. Whenever a person files a claim under this chapter, all health care providers, as defined in § 8.01-581.1 that have been given notice of a pending claim, shall refrain from all debt collection activities relating to medical treatment received by the person in connection with such claim until an award is made on the claim or until a claim is determined to be non-compensable pursuant to § 19.2-368.11:1. The statute of limitations for collection of such debt shall be tolled during the period in which the applicable health care provider is required to refrain from debt collection activities hereunder.
B. For the purpose of this section, "debt collection activities" means repeatedly calling or writing to the claimant and threatening either to turn the matter over to a debt collection agency or to an attorney for collection, enforcement or filing of other process. The term shall not include routine billing or inquiries about the status of the claim.