Northam Proposes $485.2M for Behavioral Health

July 29, 2021

As is the norm, the Governor’s Office is releasing his proposals for the “Special Session” a bit at a time – yesterday the focus was on Behavioral Health (full press statement here).   The emphasis, of course, was on shoring up the state hospitals (and training centers [sic]), with only passing reference to the community system that must be the backbone of the system. 

We were more concerned about the reference in the Richmond Times-Dispatch article this morning that talked about the services which were funded on July 1st of this year.  While accurate, the impression is that “Assertive Community Treatment, Partial Hospitalization, and Intensive Outpatient” are totally new service options and not refined and slightly better funded versions of what has been available.  This may be another round of just having something bright and shiny to talk about and not a substantial funding of the system of care.  

We applaud any effort to fund the needed services; we worry that the current crisis will once again result in a call to change the system — add new, revamp old — and once again, providers will spend time standing up new services, aligning their licenses, credentials and staffing patterns, rather than just getting about the business of providing services!

To date, the Governor has not released any news on his DD/FMAP budget items – we are still fairly confident that we will have support to “bridge” to the rebase for the rates in July 2022.   Telling your legislators how many vacancies you have, or what you can pay vs what WaWa is offering — short, quick, one-liners — is always helpful!