Too Much to Say; Too Little Time!

February 04, 2022

The update on the Session took too much of the time on the Member’s Call this morning.  We did not have the opportunity to give you an update on the recent meeting a several members of the Board had with the new Commissioner of DBHDS, Nelson Smith.   The meeting was, I think, productive and will lead to many more discussions in the next several months.

We expressed our concern that we, the private providers, have not been seen as part of the mission of DBHDS.  Building on the history of the last decade, we talked about the significant factors which contributed to our diminished role as partners in achieving the goals and meeting the aims of the Department.  Two of those factors, the tragedy with Senator Deed’s son (November 2013) which led to increase focus on mental health services, the role of the CSBs, and funding STEP-Va, Crisis Services, etc. and DOJ (Findings letter released February 11, 2011) have been the driving forces.  Neither has promoted a positive relationship with the private providers!  And, over the decade which followed, the interactions have become more adversarial.

The Commissioner listened and, we think, heard our concerns.  He expressed his interest (especially as a recent members of “the private sector”) in engaging in a meaningful way which would clearly change the dialogue and the dynamic.  We will keep the communication channels open and look for ways to support the mission and offer solutions.