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DBHDS Establishes Holiday Hotline for Law Enforcement Providing TDO Custody & Transport

The notice below is in response to the anticipated high volume of mental health commitment orders this week. The original memo released by DBHDS Commissioner Hughes Melton is below the hotline notice.

DBHDS Holiday Hotline

From: Daniel Herr, J.D.,  Deputy Commissioner for Facility Services
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

 
DBHDS has established a 24/7 phone number for law enforcement providing custody and transport of individuals under a TDO over the 4th of July holiday. The phone number is (804) 297-6508. DBHDS will staff this line beginning at 8 AM on Thursday July 4th and continue the staffing through 8 AM on Monday, July 8th.

The staff on call will provide technical assistance around the management or disposition of any patient who has been TDO'd to a state hospital that is waiting for admission due to lack of an available state hospital bed.  
 
DBHDS is requesting that other (non-patient specific concerns) be forwarded through the chain of command to DBHDS as deemed appropriate by the Sheriff or Chief of Police.
 

Memo from DBHDS Commissioner Hughes Melton

Dear Stakeholder,
 
The purpose of this letter is to follow up on my May 23, 2019 letter regarding our state hospital census crisis and steps we taking to ensure patient care and safety given the census trends. During the past six weeks, the state hospitals have consistently been operating at or above census.  Therefore, DBHDS anticipates that there will be times over the July 4th holiday weekend when there will not be any open staffed beds at any of the state hospitals.  
 
DBHDS is continuing to use every tool at its disposal to maximize the use of its beds across the state, including efficacious treatment and discharge planning, diversions within the state hospital system whenever possible, and collaborating with the CSBs and community partners to identify and use alternatives to state hospitals. CSB efforts include such things as, ongoing robust efforts to identify and access alternatives to hospitalization, and whenever possible, providing enhanced access to residential crisis stabilization programs (CSUs), increased availability of intensive case management/programs for assertive community treatment (PACT) along with peer outreach and support for those who are at risk of crisis. In addition to the CSB efforts, I also want to recognize Poplar Springs Hospital in Petersburg, and Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center in Virginia Beach, for partnering with DBHDS and the CSBs to maximize the availability of their hospital beds for individuals under a TDO during the 4th of July weekend. Even with the use of these tools and resources, DBHDS anticipates that, with the upcoming holiday weekend that will result in a longer period of detention prior to a commitment hearing, all staffed beds at the state hospitals will become occupied.
 
If all state hospital staffed beds are occupied, and a state hospital is notified by a CSB of a potential new admission, the hospital will inform the CSB of the current unavailability of a state hospital bed.  DBHDS asks that our CSB, law enforcement, and private hospital partners work with us to ensure the safety of the individuals we serve.  DBHDS, in collaboration with the CSB emergency services leadership, has established a process of ongoing communication with care providers as well as the ongoing monitoring and triaging individuals who are waiting for admission to a state hospital.
 
We appreciate your ongoing collaboration as we partner together to provide for individuals who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis and are in need of inpatient psychiatric care.
 
Thank you for your partnership.
 
S. Hughes Melton, MD, MBA
Commissioner
Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

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