July 30, 2018
You may have heard that DBHDS (in collaboration with DMAS) has initiated an updated version of an effort to transform the Virginia Behavioral Health system. They have released an outline
and hired The Farley Center to consult and assist with the development of the plan. We were invited to participate with others in a stakeholder’s meeting last week. We have also recently presented to the System Structure workgroup of the SJ47 Commission (also looking at the strengths and weaknesses fo the current system) and participate regularly in the Behavioral Health Associations meetings to discuss systemic issues and barriers to having a fully functional system.
STEP-VA, elements of which are already in the Code of Virginia, is designed to insure that core services are available throughout the Commonwealth, this effort would integrate those services (funded by Medicaid) into a wide variety of settings where individuals present (see outline linked above). This may be the appropriate next “step.”
The consensus of the stakeholders seemed to be that the key issue was funding – funding to make services more widely available and, therefore, improved access and funding to bring reimbursement rates up to a level that allows the “business” of service delivery to be viable and allows for the recruitment and retention of qualified staff. The consensus also seemed to be that we already have enough on our plates, with expansion yet to come!
If the question is “What is the appropriate array of services?” then the answer is surely “All of what we have, with regulations that make sense and are not contradictory, reimbursed at a rate that makes them possible and sustainable!”