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We Have A Budget!

Yesterday, Governor Youngkin signed the long-delayed budget, which has significant implications for behavioral health in Virginia. The budget includes $4.35 million to increase funding for the first three steps of System Transformation Excellence and Performance (STEP-VA), which provides deliberately chosen services that comprise a comprehensive care system for those with serious behavioral health disorders.

There is $58 million to expand and modernize the crisis services system. This will include, among other things, investment in additional crisis-receiving centers, crisis stabilization units, and enhancements to existing sites. Thus enhancing services and access for individuals in crisis. There is $4 million to support supervised residential care for 100 individuals, with priority given to projects prioritizing patients on the state’s extraordinary barriers list. There is an additional $30 million investment in Permanent Supportive Housing. There is $10 million for establishing mobile crisis services in underserved areas.

The budget also includes the following:

10% rate increase beginning on January 1, 2024, for the following:

• Intensive In-Home

• Mental Health Skill Building

• Psychosocial Rehab

• Therapeutic Day Treatment

• Outpatient Psychotherapy, and

Peer Recovery Support Services

• 23 Hour Crisis Stabilization

• Community Stabilization

• Crisis Intervention

• Mobile Crisis Response

• Residential Crisis Stabilization

• Assertive Community Treatment

• Mental Health – Intensive Outpatient

• Mental Health – Partial Hospitalization

• Family Functional Therapy and

• Multisystemic Therapy

The budget incorporates money for the Community Service Board’s (CSB) workforce. This includes $18 million to increase compensation for staff that work at a CSB or Behavioral Health Authority beginning on January 1, 2024. It should be noted that the $18 million is for half a year.

While the investments made in this budget are a good start, there is still a long way to go. Virginia’s behavioral health system suffers from a deficit of resources that must be addressed if Virginia is to be competitive nationally in its behavioral health standing. To review the budget bill, please click here.

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