March 5, 2014
Virginia mental health workers now have a new tool to find psychiatric beds for people being held under emergency custody orders (ECO).
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services says an online statewide psychiatric bed registry went live on Monday. The registry lists available psychiatric beds at private psychiatric hospitals, state facilities and crisis stabilization units.
State health officials say time is critical when a community service board is trying to find a bed for someone in a crisis.
Local officials say the registry should be a great tool, but it won't solve every problem.
"It's gonna make our jobs, I think a lot easier, but we still have to find the bed,” Region Ten Service Director Buzz Barnett said. “Just because there's an available bed at a hospital doesn't mean that we get that bed."
Under state law, an individual cannot be held longer than six hours under an ECO.
Senator Creigh Deeds' son, Gus, had recently been released from an ECO when he attacked his father, because they could not find a bed for him.