RD685 - 2020 Annual Executive Summary of the Activity and Work of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services – January 1, 2021

Executive Summary:

I am writing on behalf of the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to provide the Annual Executive Summary submitted in accordance with subsection E of § 37.2-200 of the Code of Virginia. The report describes the statutory basis for the Board, provides information concerning the activity of the Board during the preceding year and outlines the Board’s policy priorities for the coming year.

In 2020, quarterly meetings originally planned for Nottoway, Richmond, and Marion, were held virtually in accordance with Item 4-0.01 g. of Chapter 1283 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly, Article 5 the Bylaws of the State Board, and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). One meeting in Richmond was both in person and virtual. During these meetings, the Board heard reports from DBHDS Commissioner Alison Land and presentations on:

• Major initiatives such as the System Transformation, Excellence and Performance (STEP-VA) model to transform Virginia’s mental health services, the US Department of Justice Settlement Agreement, jail and forensic matters including Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), and the State Opioid Response (SOR) Grant and the State Targeted Response (STR) Grant;

• The state human rights system;

• Community services boards (CSBs) particularly the impact of the pandemic on services as reported by the Virginia Association of CSBs; and

• Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute.

At its July 2019 biennial planning retreat and regular meeting, the members of the Board endorsed as its own priorities for the biennium the key initiatives and implementation plans developed through that recent planning process. In particular, the members are interested in support for:

1. Utilization of Crisis Intervention Treatment and Assessment Centers (CITACs) for detoxification and 23 hour crisis stabilization to assist in alleviating the current capacity pressures on state hospitals.

2. Continued work toward elimination of the Priority 1 Waitlist, but also strongly consider refresh of waiver rates (with regional variation addressed) to address increasing pressures to recruit and retain qualified professionals to provide waiver services.

3. Elimination of the gap uninsured Virginians experience, even after Medicaid expansion, and continued focus on the need for resources like STEP-VA to support the un- and under-insured.

Of course, the impact of the pandemic on state resources has created an additional challenge to meet all of the Commonwealth’s needs. However the Board continues to hope that behavioral health and developmental services priorities remain in the forefront of all issues brought before the 2021 Session of the General Assembly.


Elizabeth Hilscher, Chair