RD87 - 2016 Annual Executive Summary of the Activity and Work of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services – February 16, 2017
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 2016, the Board held its meetings at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) Central Office and Region Ten Community Services Board in Charlottesville. During these meetings, the Board heard reports from DBHDS Interim Commissioner Dr. Jack Barber and presentations on the System Transformation, Excellence and Performance (STEP-VA) model to transform Virginia’s mental health services, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) grant, Medicaid waiver redesign, the DOJ settlement agreement, behavioral health wellness, and peer certification. We were also fortunate enough to hear from Dr. Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of the National Association of Community Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, on national trends in behavioral healthcare. The Board would like to thank Interim Commissioner Barber, DBHDS staff, the legislature, and your administration for your hard work to transform our system into one that provides access to quality services to all Virginians with behavioral health disorders and developmental services.
The Board’s priorities for 2017 are:
1. Ensure all Virginians have timely access to appropriate and needed services by eliminating waiting lists, enhancing community based services, increasing access to providers by expanding provider coverage and telepsychiatry, and medication assisted treatment;
2. Expand housing assistance to support individuals in more integrated settings in the community;
3. Support efforts for Virginia to implement System Transformation, Excellence and Performance (STEP-VA), an innovative initiative to address Virginia’s behavioral health needs, derived from the transformation recommendations and informed by critical lessons learned during the CCBHC grant;
4. Increase access to services for adolescents and young adults through transition services and child psychiatric services;
5. Promote education with regard to prevention and recovery through Mental Health First Aid, Peer Services, and self advocacy;
6. Reduce stigma of individuals with a behavioral health diagnosis or developmental disability through education and culturally competent outreach; and
7. Continue to develop adequate provider capacity for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The Board urges that behavioral health and developmental services priorities remain in the forefront of all those issues before the legislature in 2017. If there are helpful ways we might highlight the need for these services, we are eager to support such efforts.
/s/ Paula Mitchell