Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck CSB faces funding cut

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 06, 2019 - 02:27 PM

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services under the direction of the 2018 General Assembly is cutting $526,000 from the budget of the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board in anticipation of replacing the funding with Medicaid expansion dollars.

Chuck Walsh, executive director of MP-NN CSB, told the Mathews County Board of Supervisors during its Jan. 29 budget public meeting that loss of the funds is “a major, major issue.”

He mentioned the problem in the context of telling the board that, while the CSB did not ask for additional funding this year from the counties it serves, it is subsidizing the costs of behavioral health care in Mathews by $39,000 and would appreciate the county offering further funding to help offset those costs, “whether 5 percent or 10 percent.”

Walsh touted the expansion of programs that the CSB has undertaken, including a new Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team that originally served one Mathews client but now serves four, and an early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays that previously had 18 Mathews participants but now has 33. In addition, he said, a new grant-funded program to help people with opioid addiction has provided drugs to help nine Mathews residents combat their addiction.

Starting in March, said Walsh, clients will be able to get a same-day appointment for assessment, screening and linkage with services. After that, same-day primary care screening will be rolled out, he said, explaining that lack of primary care is a contributing factor in the shorter-than-average lifespan of people who are seriously mentally ill.

Finally, Walsh thanked the supervisors for the 45 years of support the CSB has received from Mathews County. He said the work the CSB does wouldn’t be possible without the help of Social Services, the schools, and the sheriff. He especially thanked Sheriff Mark Barrick as the only sheriff in the 10-county region who participated in crisis intervention training offered last year by the CSB.