Are there enough beds for immediate psychiatric treatment in Hampton Roads?
Senator Creigh Deeds is still recovering after he was stabbed on Tuesday morning. His son was found dead from a gunshot wound.
Investigator Laurie Simmons is exploring questions about Gus Deeds’ mental state and the possible treatments under Virginia regulations.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Creigh Deeds took his son Gus to the local Community Services Board on Monday before the attack.
They issued what’s called an emergency custody order, which means he can be held up to 4 hours against his will while the CSB tries to find an inpatient facility that will take him.
According to the Times Dispatch, they could not find a bed, and he was released just hours before police think he stabbed his father and shot himself.
So could this happen here in Hampton roads?
At any given time, there are only 378 beds available for emergency psychiatric detentions in the Hampton Roads and Tidewater area.
This presents a problem for local community services boards that are tasked to help the mentally ill.
Chuck Hall is the executive director for the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board.
They say if there isn`t a bed available within a 4-6 hour time frame, they are forced to release any potential patients they come in contact with.
“It happens rarely in Hampton roads. We have a lot of facilities, a lot of beds, a lot of good partners,” says Hall.
Rarely, is open to interpretation.
According to a 2012 study done by the state inspector general for behavioral services, over a three-month period, they found 22 patients in Hampton Roads could not find beds for immediate psychiatric treatment.
This was the second highest fail rate in the state after southwestern Virginia.
“For 22 people to not access a bed is 22 too many, but also remarkable considering the stresses on the system,” says Hall.
Those stresses include money and the plain fact that there is not a lot of it for long term psychiatric treatment.
“We have, I think sufficient inpatient beds, but insufficient funds to pay for them,” says Hall.
“You can understand how a hospital with a psychiatric unit has to look at their bottom line, and say wait a minute, we are going to be paid for 48-72 hours, and then who pays for the period of time after that?” says Hall.
It seems Gus Deeds fell victim to this complex system, and now, it’s something the state investigator general says he is looking into.