Report: Virginia spends millions on patients ready for release - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Report: Virginia spends millions on patients who no longer need psychiatric beds

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

In response to November's tragic attack on Sen. Creigh Deeds, a new report by the Virginia Inspector General's Office reveals the Commonwealth is spending millions on mental health patients who are ready to be released from state psychiatric care.

The report says Virginia spent an estimated $28.3 million on patients who had been in psychiatric beds for nearly a year, and were ready for community release.

An estimated 161 beds could have been freed, a problem highlighted when an open bed could not be found for Austin "Gus" Deeds.

The Inspector General's report can be viewed here.

State Inspector General Michael F.A. Morehart also expressed a need for $19 million in discharge assistance funds to be audited, money that is supposed to help patients plan for their release after state psychiatric care.

Average costs for patient care in communities, as opposed to Virginia's mental health facilities, were found to be dramatically lower. Community care averaged at $27,000 compared to $231,000 in state institutions.

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