- Report Published -
|2015 Annual Executive Summary of the Activity and Work of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services - January 1, 2016|
|State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services|
|§ 37.2-200 (E.)|
|Dear Governor McAuliffe:|
I am writing on behalf of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. The purpose of this letter is to provide a copy of the Annual Executive Summary submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly in accordance with subsection E of § 37.2-200 of the Code of Virginia.
The membership of the Board includes individuals who have received services, family members of people with disabilities, a local elected official, a psychiatrist and citizens at large. We feel it is important to make the case that, of all the demands presented each year for state support, the needs of Virginians with mental health or substance use disorders or intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families are particularly important and deserving of increased resources.
In 2015, the Board visited Eastern State Hospital, Colonial Behavioral Health, Region Ten CSB, and St. Joseph’s Villa Children’s Crisis Stabilization Center. Through these visits and reports from the DBHDS Commissioner, we heard presentations on the Hancock Geriatric Center, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, Waiver Redesign, the DOJ Settlement, system transformation efforts, and changes to the involuntary commitment process. The Board would like to thank Interim Commissioner Barber, DBHDS staff, the Legislature, and your administration for your hard work to transform our behavioral health and developmental services system into one that serves all Virginians.
For the coming biennium, the board endorsed as its own priorities the following areas:
• Provide substantial funding for mental health outpatient assessment and treatment to allow citizens to receive more timely services;
• Initiate rapid change of the ID/DD waiver redesign as proposed. This would allow for an increase of services through an assessment of specific needs rather than a "broad array of services" based on the current system;
• Increase the funding for the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) to establish teams throughout the Commonwealth. This will assist in keeping individuals in the community and reducing the number of facility beds needed for care. Funding also needs to address the regions of the state that have difficulty staffing these programs;
• Support efforts for Virginia to develop Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics;
• Expand housing assistance to support individuals in more integrated settings in the community;
• Increase relationships with other agencies to reduce redundancy in programs. Have the DBHDS establish MOUs with DVS, DPH, DOC and Courts. The formation of "TEAMS" from these alignments will assist in education for suicide prevention, transition of individuals from DOC/Courts to assist in the early release of individuals in jails/prisons with mental health and substance use conditions;
• Increase education of Mental Health First Aid programs in schools, government agencies, primary care providers, jails, and other community programs; and
• Expand substance abuse services.
The board urges that behavioral health and developmental services priorities remain in the forefront of all those issues before the legislature as we move into the New Year. If there are helpful ways we might highlight the need for these services, we are eager to support such efforts.
/s/ Paula Mitchell