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Report Raises Concerns about VA Mental Health Spending - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Report Raises Concerns about VA Mental Health Spending

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RICHMOND, Va (WVIR) -

A report from the office of the state inspector general this week is raising questions about how state money is being used for mental health. It says the state is spending millions of dollars every year to house patients in state hospitals who qualify for release into their community.

The report also questions state oversight of funds used to help discharge patients.

Mental health advocates say these issues could prevent others from getting help when they need it.

“You essentially almost have a backup. You know people that aren't able to exit means that other people can't enter the hospital system. Not to mention that it's not a very good use of money,” said Mira Signer, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Virginia.

According to the report, it costs nine times as much to provide care in state hospitals than it does in a community-based setting.

The VA Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services says it has recently taken actions to improve the efficiency of the discharge assistance program.

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