Agenda to Strengthen the Mental Health System and Combat the Opioid Epidemic

December 15, 2016

We attended the Governor’s Press Conference yesterday where he, along with LT. Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring, announced the inclusion of more than $31 M in the budget to be released tomorrow to fund same-day access to screening (at 25 of the 40 CSBs), funding for discharge assistance planning, private bed purchase & community diversion activities to reduce the strain in the state hospitals, funding to assure mental health screening in jails and funds for medication assisted treatment and support for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. There is also funding for a comprehensive evaluation and gap-analysis of the Behavioral Health System in Virginia.  The Governor also presented a list of legislative initiatives on opioids and allowing the Board of Corrections to investigate deaths which occur in jails. Detail will be forthcoming when we release the entire list of budget initiatives tomorrow, however, it is worthy of note that many of these proposals are similar, if not identical to those which we expect to be authored by the SJ 47 Commission Members.  It will be interesting to see how this unfolds during the Session. We have also posted the presentation to be given today at the ARTS Associations Meeting on the Behavioral Health Members page!