VACSB Public Policy Meeting 12/20/2011

Notes from the VACSB Public Policy meeting following the release of Governor McDonnell’s 2012 proposed budget of December 19, 2011.

In response to the governor’s proposed 2012-2014 budget, the mental health, etc. budget has not been cut, though there is some shifting in funds – state facilities, providers, DBHDS’s office. The governors budget left 31 million dollars for the General Assembly to allocate. DRS’s budget was cut by $500,000. Should we advocate for DRS around mental health stuff? Maybe around the concept of Employment First. The Health Dept. was also cut significantly. The retirement system always significantly cut and will be most likely advocated around strongly across the state.

VOCAL has been assigned House Bills 51-101, 306-356, 567-617 and 849-910 to read.

    I need to assign those to volunteers to read

. Reminder, don’t just look at the summary. Read the whole bill. Looking at the highlighted copy of the bill will make it easier to find new language. But read beyond the highlighted language to understand the context.

There is a 2nd one-time, $30m allocated to the Trust Fund. Hopefully there will be a potential of ongoing funds in future budgets. This time the money is allocated into “grants to localities.” I’m not sure yet what that means.

Mira pointed out that central office jail diversion money is now directed to the CSB’s. What is the actual impact of that? It’s not new money. It is to continue existing jail diversion services (to be put, with Victoria’s permission, into the Performance Contract).

There is no new money in the budget. Any references to dollar amounts refers to last year’s budget.

Per Mary Ann: there is no way, based on the economics, a way to have a cross-systems formulary.

Scott Crawford from DMAS (sitting in for Cindy Jones) reports that there is withholding of inflation increases to some provider groups who have gotten inflation increases in the past in the proposed budget. This is seen as a cut. I don’t think these groups are MH, SA, ID, DD providers.

In DMAS’s section of the budget there shows an increase in funding for involuntary commitment is based on statistical forecasting.

Mira has listed out the sections of the full budget language into an Excel document with space for comments.

    I am going to try and do the same thing for VOCAL

, much like how I’ve done bills in past years. The Budget issues tend to overwhelm my brain. I bet a chart will help me wrap my mind around it all.

The Medicaid language in the Governor’s proposed budget is much shorter this year than last.

    I need to look at it

. I haven’t really looked over the Medicaid part of the budget yet.

SSI income eligibility reduction.

    Need to find this in the budget proposal

. (Approx 4000 people affected. “Reduces the income level to 2094 may qualify for …….., reducing the income level to 250% of ….”

The budget language around drug courts seems to be strengthening the viability of drug courts in Virginia. In the past the Supreme Court (or was it a particular Justice) opposed specialized courts. What does this mean for the future of mental health courts? Ned is going to float this past the state drug court association to get their take on this.

The Transfer from CSU language that has been worked on this year will not be going forward into legislation this year. It may (or may not) be submitted next year. The CSU’s that are facing this issue will be asked to submit data around this to help define the need for this.

The Dept has agreed to a study on forensics.

Most of those in this group have not heard of the work that Richard Bonnie is doing.

    I need to contact him or his student (name escapes me) and find out what’s going on with that.


Jim Stewart. There were very few departments spared in this year’s budget. DBHDS was one spared for the second year. The Secretary commented off the cuff to Jim Stewart that DBHDS is on borrowed time.

DBHDS has new IT person whose job it is to put electronic records in place for DBHDS-run facilities. Apparently the CSBs are ahead of the curve nationally. There are incentives available for timely implementation.

There is a settlement agreement discussion with DOJ and the content of the discussion can not be made public yet. Look for something in January, hopefully.

The SVP facility has begun double-bunking.

Per Mary Ann Bergeron — this is not the year to introduce new legislation.

Kid’s mental health was not funded, though there is a compleat plan that has been briefed to the Commission on Youth.

Regarding the Office of Consumers Affairs proposal from the Creating Opportunities Plan, the Department did not receive funding for this. Having taken a 30% cut at the Dept a few years back, the idea of adjusting current staffing to cover this is daunting. Jim Stewart says it is still in discussion — perhaps on a different scale than originally envisioned.

    I need to talk to Mira about NAMI’s legislative and budget priorities. Can VOCAL team up with them on some or all items? Is that strategically smart or naive?

This budget is not etched in stone.


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