Mental Health and Drug Treatment Need vs. Capacity

Mental Health and Drug Treatment Need vs. Capacity

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1147-3.ch009
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In 2018, the local District of Columbia auditor found that a section of the Department of Behavioral Health that performed psychiatric evaluations had significant staff turnover and long-standing position vacancies and that there had been a several-week period when approximately one-fourth of the Division's full-time positions were vacant. As a result, the Department's psychiatric evaluation waitlist grew, delaying many defendants' evaluations beyond the statutorily permissible timeframe. When the problem persisted, DC Superior Court judges threatened contempt citations. Moreover, the Department relied on a network of small to mid-sized nonprofit agencies to provide the vast majority of public behavioral health services. However, many of these nonprofits had experienced lengthy delays in reimbursement stemming from the Department of Behavioral Health's billing software, and some were forced to close. These circumstances suggested the CSOSA clients would have been unlikely to have received mental health treatment.
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Community Risk/Protective Factor 11:

Local Counselor Capacity

Table 1 shows that in 2016, the District had 1,142 professional counselors and 3,252 social workers.

Table 1.
Mental health professional count

Source: Adapted from American Counseling Association (2016)

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