Virginia governor substance abuse mental health reform
By Edward Kimmel [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Last Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia announced a series of reforms to the FY-2016-18 budget to build on the state’s meager substance abuse and mental health fund. His proposal includes $31.7 million in funding to expand services in state facilities, community services boards (CSB), and local correctional facilities.

The proposal would bring Virginia’s “behavioral health system into the 21st century,” McAuliffe said at a press conference.

Of the total funding, he requested, $7.4 million will be devoted to discharge planning, including private bed purchases and various community services, and an additional $5 million will be allocated for medication-assisted treatment.

Along with improving addiction treatment and mental health care to the public, Governor McAuliffe’s amendments will expand 2016’s pilot project to improve mental health screening and assessment in jails. This will be achieved by funding grants to help jails establish a mental health program to treat those in need.

McAuliffe’s budget and legislative propositions will include a provision defining the Board of Corrections’ authority in investigating deaths within their facilities. The budget also includes a grant for jails to strengthen their screening assessments at prisoner intake, which will help identify those with psychological disorders.  

The increase in funding would…(continue reading)