On October 6, the RRCC submitted a public comment regarding mental health in alignment with our legislative agenda on healthcare.

RE: Chapter II, Psychiatric Services page 15-16, DMAS requirements regarding provider qualifications for outpatient counseling

The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports initiatives to effectively address mental health in our region, particularly through early intervention. We recommend that the proposed changes to provider qualifications for psychiatric services as outlined in Chapter II, pages 15-16 not be approved. If enacted, the proposed changes will impact businesses and organizations in the Roanoke Valley and result in fewer mental health services for children across the Commonwealth.

Today, children and families benefit enormously from quality, child-focused early intervention services to alleviate the life-long effects of adverse childhood events and/or early identification and treatment for mental illness. Removing access to these services will leave our most vulnerable populations more impaired for longer periods of time, further impacting their opportunities for successful long-term outcomes.

Continued access to robust, community-based services covered by Medicaid in childhood directly reduces costs on other state and community resources. Without this access, the Commonwealth will experience increased costs of incarceration, hospitalization, and in-patient services—which are all negative outcomes associated with not receiving intervention for childhood trauma or early onset mental illness. Please keep access as open as it is now for children to receive outpatient mental health services.