Yost legislation aims to reform mental health system




Delegate Joseph Yost (R-12th District), who was named 2013 Legislator of the Year by the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, has introduced three pieces of legislation in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly aimed at reforming the Commonwealth’s mental health system.

“The incident with (25th District Sen. Creigh Deeds) and his son was a tragedy.  It is my hope that these suggested proposals will help prevent further tragedies from happening,” Yost said of the legislation.

The delegate was referring to a November incident in which police said Deeds’ 24-year-old son stabbed the senator multiple times outside their Millboro home and then fatally shot himself. Deeds survived.

According to reports, Deeds’ son had been released from a mental health emergency detention a day before the Nov. 19 attack when officials were told there were no psychiatric beds available.

Yost said his proposed legislation is not a “silver bullet” cure. However, he added, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Secretary of Human Services Bill Hazel have proposed budget investments and reforms “that will be a huge first step in increasing access to services and I look forward to again championing these issues in the 2014 session.”

Yost’s proposed HB 241 allows a person held pursuant to a temporary detention order (TDO) to be held for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. The current limit is 48 hours.

HB 242 provides for a second two-hour extension of the time during which a person can be held pursuant to an emergency custody order (ECO).

Under HB 243, if a facility for temporary detention has not been identified prior to expiration of an ECO, magistrates will be able to issue a TDO if the person meets criteria for temporary detention. The detention, however, would also be contingent upon the community services board certifying it will continue to make good faith efforts to identify the facility of temporary detention until a facility is identified or the TDO expires.

All three bills would have to receive approval of the House of Delegates and Senate and be signed by Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe to be implemented.

In 2013, Yost carried a bill similar to HB 241 that was ultimately left in committee due to fiscal concerns. However, McDonnell appropriated $1.3 million in his outgoing budget to help ensure the bills passage in 2014.

Roanoke Valley-NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and the Virginia Counselors Association also have named Yost  “Legislator of the Year” in 2013.



7 Responses to Yost legislation aims to reform mental health system

  1. Elyse Ted

    January 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    It’s so sad that it often takes a tragedy to bring about change. Here’s hoping this legislation will raise awareness of how critical it is to address mental health concerns before they rise to crisis levels: http://www.kidspeace.org/

  2. Sherrill

    January 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Why are all of these clown’s jumping on the bandwagon now? Why were they not doing something before? This is repulsive at this point.

  3. Casper

    January 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Maybe Yost should be just as astute when he votes for invasive sonograms. This man is disgusting.

    • Va Girl

      January 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Spoken in true ignorance. Here’s the deal, I’m against abortion but agree with the sonogram. Is it not best a doctor be able to see what they are doing, or you prefer them to work “blind”? Ever wonder why a dentist doesn’t shut their eyes when pulling a tooth? Or a surgeon uses a camera in the body cavity to look around when need be? Why do you want a woman choosing to kill her unborn not to have the same level of care as a woman getting a tooth pulled or having their tubes tied? Interesting.

  4. Billy J

    January 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    VA Girl, you are crazy. I use crazy because what I really think would not be allowed on this board. This is a classic example of Casper and the majority of others not wanting the government interfering in the private healthcare decisions of women. Why is it that you type of people, most notably Christian conservatives, simply can’t accept the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade handed down 40 years ago as the law of the land? Get over it and find something legitimate to complain about.

    • Va Girl

      January 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Nope, not a Christian conservative. You’re wrong on that. Have my own beliefs and they are not your business.

      2nd item you’re wrong on is having full rights to our private healthcare decisions. Obamacare removed many of those options for everyone…such as the decision to NOT have insurance if they please, or using the same specialist they’d been using, etc.

      3rd error on your part is assuming wrongly I don’t accept the Supreme Court’s decision. Of course I do (DUH)!! I just don’t understand why anyone having an abortion or ANY other surgery wouldn’t want their surgeon using ultrasound to see what they are doing. If the “best care” is truly desired, the best options for best care should be utilized.

      In closing, I’ve nothing whatsoever to get over (4th item you are wrong about). I’m not complaining I’m NOTICING discrepancy in what’s being called evasive procedure and best option for care. Oh, and I like being crazy. Better than being dull, assuming, judgmental, uninformed person like you.

    • Hmmm

      January 7, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Legal does not always equal moral.

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