Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse
The Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse (DMHMRSAS) is a state agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The department operates Virginia's public mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services system through a system of 40 locally-run community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state-operated facilities which serve children and adults who have or who are at risk of mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, or substance use disorders.
Of the 16 state-run facilities, seven are mental health facilities, five are mental retardation training centers, one is a psychiatric facility for children and adolescents, one is a medical center, one is a psychiatric geriatric hospital and one is a center for behavioral rehabilitation (SVP). For placement in state facilities, patients are initially evaluated and referred from local CSBs.
Since 2005, DMHMRSAS has been working in earnest with a broad network of stakeholders to transform our system to enhance community-based care for individuals, make overdue infrastructure improvements to our state facilities and to change the way services are delivered. In recent months, we have been further examining our system and working with state and local leadership to determine the services that will be needed in the future.
A lawsuit, filed the week of December 8, 2007, by the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy, requests the release of information about alleged abuses at two state facilities operated by DMHMRSAS.
Reading from a prepared statement, on December 7, 2007, Colleen Miller, director of the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy, expressed concerns about the deaths, saying, "If the allegations we have received are true, people with disabilities in state care may be at grave risk of harm and death."
- MCKELWAY, BILL. "Mental health officials are sued:Va. agency refuses to detail patient's death, suit alleges." Richmond Times Dispatch, 8 December 2007