Inspector General recommends major changes to mental healthcare - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Inspector General recommends major changes to VA mental healthcare

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

According to a long-awaited report by Virginia's inspector general, Virginia is spending too much money in the wrong places when it comes to mental healthcare.

The report was born out of the Creigh Deeds tragedy. The inspector general discovered that in many cases, the mental health system would benefit from connecting the right patients with the right kind of care.

At its core, the tragic situation that left Creigh Deeds seriously injured and his son dead was the byproduct of access - Gus Deeds couldn't get the care he needed at the time he needed it the most. He isn't alone, and experts like Kristin Yavorsky argue the system is to blame.

"You get what you pay for, and for decades, Virginia has not invested in community-based health services," said Yavorsky.

A lengthy report by the inspector general agrees. It found that Virginia is keeping too many patients in hospital beds when they could be taking advantage of community-based health services - a savings of as much as 12 percent, and freeing up those beds for people in severe need, like Gus Deeds.

The reports specifically found 161 patients still admitted to a hospital that could've transitioned to long-term care in the community-based system.

Money being spent in the wrong way is only part of the problem. The IG's report also said that the state doesn't even have the controls necessary to move the funds where they are needed.

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