Virginia Continues to Violate the Human Rights of Over 200 Virginians

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The most recent data from Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) shows that, as of October 2019, 212 individuals were on The Extraordinary Barriers to Discharge List (EBL).

  • Each of these individuals were found by their doctors to be Ready for Discharge (RFD) back to the community, and have been waiting for discharge for more than two weeks.
  • This means that nearly 16% of the people currently being served in State Hospitals don’t need to be there.
  • Keeping individuals in a restrictive, institutional setting, like a DBHDS facility, when they do not need inpatient care violates the individual’s human rights, legal rights, and Constitutional rights.

“The average person on the EBL has waited for discharge 178 days—almost 6 months. This does not include the number of days the person spent in the hospital before they were RFD.”

  • 74 of the 212 individuals (35%) have been RFD for over 6 months.

Recent articles and statements from DBHDS say the hospitals are in crisis due to “bed shortages.” In order to solve that problem, DBHDS plans to create more beds in the State Hospital system by rebuilding Central State Hospital, expanding Western State Hospital, and adding “temporary beds” at Catawba Hospital.

“Creating more beds is a short-sighted, costly, and dangerous solution.”

  • If DBHDS discharged even a portion of the individuals on the EBL, there would be no bed shortage. By investing in building more appropriate and adequate community mental health systems, DBHDS could divert many hospitalizations from occurring in the first place, and ensure that those hospitalizations that are truly necessary do not last any longer than needed.
  • DBHDS acknowledges an alarming upward trend in staff turnover and vacancy rates.

“Placing more people in facilities with less staff is dangerous.”

  • The average cost for a bed in a state hospital per day is $816.57.  At least one person has been on the EBL for more than 1,000 days.  This means that it has cost the Commonwealth and taxpayers more than $800,000 to hold this one person after they were ready to return to the community.

Did you know? 212 people is the equivalent of the whole population of Sanford, Virginia (a part of the Eastern Shore).

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