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Governor McAuliffe Launches GAP to Help Most Vulnerable Virginians Struggling with Serious Mental Illness

Jan 14, 2015 | Richmond, VA
This week, Governor McAuliffe announced federal approval and launch of the Governor’s Access Plan, or GAP, which will provide critical physical and behavioral health services for 20,000 Virginians who are uninsured and have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. This is wonderful news for thousands of Virginians, and their families, who suffer with serious mental illness and no access to care. 
 
The GAP plan provides critical treatment to individuals with serious mental illness, including major depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, schizophrenia, and post traumatic stress disorder.  These illnesses affected over 300,000 Virginians in just the last year, and over 50,000 of them are uninsured and lack access to critical, life saving services. 
 
Not only do I applaud this bold initiative, but I also strongly encourage uninsured individuals with a serious mental illness, and their loved ones to seek information about the program and apply for coverage.  
 
There are three ways to apply: 
 

1.    Contact your local Community Services Board.  A list of all CSBs and locations can be found here; or 

2.    Contact a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in your area, or;
 
3.    Call or visit the website for Virginia’s health insurance exchange, Cover Virginia, at 1-855-869-8190 or TDD 1-888-221-1590. 

GAP will cost $13 million this year, and the federal government is providing an equal match. During the second year, the cost for Virginia will be about $77 million, and those funds will also have a matching amount from the federal government. Virginia’s share will come from savings within the Medicaid program.
 
This is an important and bold new program for the Commonwealth that provides necessary treatment for those with serious mental illness.  Please help spread the word about GAP and encourage individuals to apply.  Help is available.  Treatment is effective.  Recovery is the expectation.