Budget Battle Over Mental Health Reform

Lawmakers in Richmond are deep in budget negotiations and will soon decide which parts of the mental health-care system will receive a funding boost.

Lawmakers in Richmond are deep in budget negotiations and will soon decide which parts of the mental health-care system will receive a funding boost. The House and Senate proposals have a number of differences, and what emerges will likely be a mash-up of the two. Here is a short summary of the major proposals in play:

Bed registry: That an online registry of state psychiatric beds is only starting in 2014 is somewhat baffling. It was in the works before the death of Austin “Gus” Deeds, son of Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), that galvanized reform efforts this year, but wasn’t ready in November to help local mental health workers find him a psychiatric bed in time. It finally went live Monday, state officials announced Tuesday morning. Both the House and Senate have budgeted the same amount of money to support the registry, roughly $234,000 over the next two years.

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Source: The Washington Post