Community Services Boards’ Mental Health Partnership with Hospitals

Virginia’s publicly funded mental health services are available through its 40 Community Services Boards (CSB) that serve the Commonwealth’s 133 counties and cities. CSBs are agents of local governments but work under contracts with Virginia Department of Behavior Health and Developmental Services. By statute, CSBs are single points of entry and major resources for people with mental health or substance use disorders who lack health insurance. They provide access to community hospitals, state hospitals, and training center services through preadmission screening, case management, services coordination, and discharge planning. CSBs are key partners with hospitals’ emergency service units as they provide assessments for inpatient treatment of people experiencing an acute behavioral crisis such as an overdose, or those exhibiting behaviors that indicate they are a threat to themselves or others. When inadequate CSB coverage exists, patients often are transported to treatment sites by law enforcement officials. Having law enforcement personnel perform that function can temporarily leave more rural and remote communities without public safety coverage, as well as delay patient treatment. Another complication is that local law enforcement may not be equipped to deal with such emergency situations, causing them to use physical restraints during patient transport. Figure 1 below plots the location of all 40 CSBs in Virginia. And Figure 2 overlays CSB locations with other emergency treatment locations in the Commonwealth. While coverage is extensive, there appear to be pockets where more coverage may be warranted (Virginia’s southern border in the areas near Danville and Martinsville is an example). An interactive dashboard developed by the VHHA Analytics Team that charts the location of health care facilities and providers, including CSBs, by category and type is publicly available for viewing here. (11/10)

Figure 1

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Figure 2

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