HB 105 (Rasoul), which directs a feasibility study for the transformation of Catawba Hospital into a facility that would offer a continuum of substance use disorder treatment and recovery services, has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate. The bill is supported by a large coalition of stakeholders in the region, and VACo spoke in favor of the bill on February 7 when it was heard by a subcommittee of House Appropriations. The bill seeks to address the need for additional substance use disorder services in the region, a need which has grown more acute during the pandemic; Roanoke County Supervisor Phil North provided testimony to House Rules and to House Appropriations regarding the large increase in overdoses reported in 2021. As envisioned in the study directive, the Department of General Services, in cooperation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, would be directed to study the feasibility of transforming Catawba Hospital into a facility that would offer long-term, short-term, acute, and outpatient substance use disorder treatment and recovery services, in addition to the behavioral health and other services the hospital currently provides; Catawba Hospital currently specializes in geriatric behavioral health care. A companion budget amendment seeks $3.5 million to fund the study.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle