General Assembly 2021

General Assembly Session 2021: DBHDS Priorities and Resources

Below you’ll find more information on DBHDS’s three agency bills, key budget items, and resources on priority areas including the state hospital census, the impact of COVID-19 on the behavioral health and developmental services system, STEP-VA and community behavioral health, and more.

Overview of DBHDS Priorities

Download the one-pager here, which includes key DBHDS budget items as well as agency legislation.

The impact of COVID-19 on Virginia’s behavioral health system has been tremendous.

DBHDS is working to strengthen the system to get individuals to needed care in the least restrictive, community-based setting.

  • To help alleviate census pressures, we are working diligently to successfully discharge patients back into the community from state facilities. This is taking resources such as discharge assistance planning (DAP) dollars as well as willing community providers. We need a thriving system to both divert from inpatient care when clinically appropriate and quickly discharge individuals when they’re ready.
  • One critical diversion effort we are working on is the STEP-VA crisis services step. These crisis services, together with Marcus Alert implementation and other jail diversion efforts, are critical to reducing law enforcement involvement in behavioral health crises.
  • We also are seeing an increased need for behavioral health services as a result of the social isolation and economic uncertainty caused by COVID. Critical to meeting these needs and reducing inequities in access to care is strong prevention programming, partnerships with schools, and other community resources.

List of Resources