Report Finds Faults With State Mental Health Protocol

A new report, released on Friday says Virginia is spending millions of extra dollars each year to house state mental hospital patients who no longer need or qualify for state care. According to the Office of the State Inspector General, it means patients are occupying hospital beds that could be used for people requiring emergency or long-term psychiatric hospital care. The Times Dispatch reports, officials also fault the state for not restricting use “discharge assistance planning” funds to ensure that local community services boards don’t use it to make up deficits in other programs. Virginia began providing state money to help people find care outside of institutions in 1998. In a revised two-year budget release on Sunday, the state Senate included over 2-million for discharge assistance planning, to help patients leave state institutions and receive care in their own communities.

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