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Commonwealth's Counties

Local Governments Provide Perspectives on Behavioral Health System

VACo and the Virginia Municipal League (VML) were invited to present on August 22 before the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the 21st Century’s work group on System Structure and Financing. The Joint Subcommittee is a three-year study that was directed in 2014 by SJ 47 (Deeds) and charged with reviewing statutes and funding for all aspects of the mental health system, including emergency and long-term care.

VACo and VML staff offered comments to the work group that sought to provide some context for localities’ contributions to the behavioral health system, which extend beyond local support for Community Services Boards. For example, localities fund a local match for services provided through the Children’s Services Act (CSA). Localities also help to fund mental health services and medications in local jails, make contributions to local safety-net nonprofits, and incur significant costs in transporting individuals subject to Emergency Custody or Temporary Detention Orders.

Dan O’Donnell, Roanoke County Assistant County Administrator, and Mike Murphy, City of Charlottesville Assistant City Manager, offered important perspectives on their respective localities’ support for behavioral health, including Roanoke County’s efforts to improve public safety response to mental health-related calls for service. Jim Regimbal of Fiscal Analytics also provided some important information on the stresses on local governments’ finances in recent years.

VACo staff will keep members informed as the Joint Subcommittee continues its work.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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