Beeman Commission Delivers Recommendations
Oct. 28, 2008
- Josiah H. Beeman Commission recommends transforming the mental health system for improved outcomes, increased independence and better lives for people with mental illnesses.
- Recovery and resilience are central to the recommendations. Recovery is a process that enables persons with mental illness to regain hope in their future, manage their lives and exercise authority over what happens to them.
- Many of the recommendations can be implemented using existing resources.
- Recommendations can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/beemancommission.
Fairfax County must help people recover from mental illness, not just treat its symptoms, said a commission that looked at its mental health care system. The result will be increased mental health for people who are ill, less dependence on the system and better outcomes for taxpayers.
The recommendations came from the Josiah H. Beeman Commission, which was created to suggest improvements to the county’s mental health care system. The commission spent almost two years studying the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), which provides mental health care for the county and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. The recommendations can be found on the Beeman Commission page.
The focus on recovery and resilience will mean major changes in how the CSB operates. The commission proposed changes to the public agency’s services, funding, and management. It said the CSB should help people meet their basic everyday needs, pursue additional federal funds and use treatments based on the latest research.
In addition to case management and standard treatments, the CSB also must help people with mental illness get jobs, housing, education and health care. Research shows that jobs, housing and education promote recovery from mental illness. These findings are borne out by other states across the nation. In one such study in Connecticut, employment and housing cut the cost for inpatient care by 70 percent in that system. These services are also critical because nearly 60 percent of people served by the CSB fall below the federal poverty line.
The mental health care system also must seek increased federal reimbursement for its services. While 67 percent of its funding comes from the county, the CSB can do more to capture available federal dollars. Only a third of adults receiving services from the CSB are enrolled in Medicaid compared to 50 percent statewide. The agency should meet or exceed this statewide figure, and it should seek money from other state and federal programs, such as the Comprehensive Services Act and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Commissioners believe that many of their recommendations can be made without additional money from Fairfax County.
Recovery isn’t a new idea in mental health care. Other localities and states have focused their systems on this principle, including Connecticut, Ohio, Rhode Island and Utah. In 2003, a presidential commission also called for mental health systems nationwide to become recovery oriented.
Recovery is a process that enables persons with mental illness to regain hope in their future, manage their lives and exercise authority over what happens to them. The concepts of recovery and resilience are central to the commission’s recommendations.
Overall, the commission proposed changes in seven main areas: leadership and governance; fiscal management; prevention and early intervention; services and supports; work force and training; data and outcomes; and technology.
These recommendations were presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee yesterday. The recommendations will be delivered to the entire board for its approval later this fall.
For more information about the commission or its recommendations, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director, Office of Public Affairs
703-324-3189, TTY 711, Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
To request this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-3187, TTY 711