RD183 - 2018 Annual Executive Summary of the Activity and Work of the State Board of Behavioral Health And Developmental Services – January 1, 2019

Executive Summary:

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 behavioral health or developmental disability 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 2018, the Board held its meetings at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) Central Office in Richmond, along with Virginia Beach and Roanoke. During these meetings, the Board heard reports from DBHDS Commissioner Dr. Hughes Melton and presentations on the System Transformation, Excellence and Performance (STEP-VA) model to transform Virginia’s mental health services, the US Department of Justice Settlement Agreement, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), and state actions to fight the opioid crisis. The Board would like to thank the former Interim Commissioner Dr. Barber and the current Commissioner Dr. Melton, 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 2019 are:

1. Continuing to fund STEP-VA services to meet the 2021 code required deadline.

2. As many additional Developmental Disabilities Waivers as possible be included in the next budget to work to eliminate the large waiting list.

3. Funding and legislative action to remove barriers and increase the number of peers and individuals with lived experience providing services in Virginia.

4. Continue to address the efforts to build up community services and decrease the number of hospitalizations by focusing on prevention of a crisis.

5. Additional funding for behavioral health services for children and adolescents including transition services to adulthood.

The Board urges that behavioral health and developmental services priorities remain in the forefront of all those issues before the legislature in 2019. If there are helpful ways we might highlight the need for these services, we are eager to support such efforts.


/s/ Paula Mitchell