The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) maintains a list of individuals in state psychiatric hospitals who are clinically ready to return home but cannot leave the hospital due to “extraordinary barriers” to discharge. DBHDS data indicates that, as of February 29, 2020, 237 individuals were on the Extraordinary Barriers to Discharge List (EBL). This is the second highest total since dLCV began tracking this data in August 2014. And these individuals are trapped in state hospitals during the current outbreak of COVID-19, the deadly infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at a time when state hospitals themselves have begun to experience their own spread of the disease. As of February 29:
“At Central State Hospital, where a staff member has tested positive, 38 individuals are ready for discharge.”
“At Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, where a staff member has tested positive, 20 people are ready for discharge.”
“At Western State Hospital, where a staff member has tested positive, 26 people are ready for discharge.”
This is a frightening time for Virginians who are confined to state hospitals when they don’t need to be. The Commonwealth must do better on behalf of our fellow citizens!