Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 37.2. Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Chapter 3. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
12/4/2021

§ 37.2-311.1. Comprehensive crisis system; Marcus alert system; powers and duties of the Department related to comprehensive mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability crisis services.

A. As used in this section and §§ 37.2-311.2 through 37.2-311.6, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Community care team" means a team of mental health service providers, and may include registered peer recovery specialists and law-enforcement officers as a team, with the mental health service providers leading such team, to help stabilize individuals in crisis situations. Law enforcement may provide backup support as needed to a community care team in accordance with the protocols and best practices developed pursuant to § 9.1-193. In addition to serving as a co-response unit, community care teams may, at the discretion of the employing locality, engage in community mental health awareness and services.

"Comprehensive crisis system" means the continuum of care established by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services pursuant to this section.

"Crisis call center" means a call center that provides crisis intervention that meets NSPL standards for risk assessment and engagement and the requirements of § 37.2-311.2.

"Crisis stabilization center" means a facility providing short-term (under 24 hours) observation and crisis stabilization services to all referrals in a home-like, nonhospital environment.

"Fund" means the Crisis Call Center Fund established under § 37.2-311.4.

"Historically economically disadvantaged community" means the same as that term is defined in § 56-576.

"Mental health awareness response and community understanding services alert system" or "Marcus alert system" means a set of protocols to (i) initiate a behavioral health response to a behavioral health crisis, including for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis secondary to mental illness, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, or any combination thereof; (ii) divert such individuals to the behavioral health or developmental services system whenever feasible; and (iii) facilitate a specialized response in accordance with § 9.1-193 when diversion is not feasible.

"Mobile crisis response" means the provision of professional, same-day intervention for children or adults who are experiencing crises and whose behaviors are consistent with mental illness or substance abuse, or both, including individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis that is secondary to mental illness, substance abuse, developmental or intellectual disability, brain injury, or any combination thereof. "Mobile crisis response" may be provided by a community care team or a mobile crisis team, and a locality may establish either or both types of teams to best meet its needs.

"Mobile crisis team" means a team of one or more qualified or licensed mental health professionals and may include a registered peer recovery specialist or a family support partner. A law-enforcement officer shall not be a member of a mobile crisis team, but law enforcement may provide backup support as needed to a mobile crisis team in accordance with the protocols and best practices developed pursuant to § 9.1-193.

"NSPL" or "National Suicide Prevention Lifeline" means the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline established by the federal government in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 290bb—36c to provide a national network of crisis centers linked by a toll-free number to route callers in suicidal crisis or emotional distress to the closest certified local crisis center.

"NSPL Administrator" means the entity designated by the federal government to administer the NSPL.

"Registered peer recovery specialist" means the same as such term is defined in § 54.1-3500.

"SAMHSA" or "Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration" means the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads federal behavioral health efforts.

B. The Department shall have the following duties and responsibilities for the provision of crisis services and support for individuals with mental illness, substance abuse, developmental or intellectual disabilities, or brain injury who are experiencing a crisis related to mental health, substance abuse, or behavioral support needs:

1. The Department shall develop a comprehensive crisis system, with such funds as may be appropriated for such purpose, based on national best practice models and composed of a crisis call center, community care and mobile crisis teams, crisis stabilization centers, and the Marcus alert system. In addition to all requirements under this section, the crisis call center shall meet the requirements of § 37.2-311.2.

2. By July 1, 2021, the Department, in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice Services and law-enforcement, mental health, behavioral health, developmental services, emergency management, brain injury, and racial equity stakeholders, shall develop a written plan for the development of a Marcus alert system. Such plan shall (i) inventory past and current crisis intervention teams established pursuant to Article 13 (§ 9.1-187 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1 throughout the Commonwealth that have received state funding; (ii) inventory the existence, status, and experiences of community services board mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization units; (iii) identify any other existing cooperative relationships between community services boards and law-enforcement agencies; (iv) review the prevalence of crisis situations involving mental illness or substance abuse, or both, including individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis that is secondary to mental illness, substance abuse, developmental or intellectual disability, brain injury, or any combination thereof; (v) identify state and local funding of emergency and crisis services; (vi) include protocols to divert calls from the 9-1-1 dispatch and response system to a crisis call center for risk assessment and engagement, including assessment for mobile crisis or community care team dispatch; (vii) include protocols for local law-enforcement agencies to enter into memorandums of agreement with mobile crisis response providers regarding requests for law-enforcement backup during a mobile crisis or community care team response; (viii) develop minimum standards, best practices, and a system for the review and approval of protocols for law-enforcement participation in the Marcus alert system set forth in § 9.1-193; (ix) assign specific responsibilities, duties, and authorities among responsible state and local entities; and (x) assess the effectiveness of a locality's or area's plan for community involvement, including engaging with and providing services to historically economically disadvantaged communities, training, and therapeutic response alternatives.

C. 1. No later than December 1, 2021, the Department shall establish five Marcus alert programs and community care or mobile crisis teams, one located in each of the five Department regions.

2. No later than July 1, 2023, the Department shall establish five additional Marcus alert system programs and community care or mobile crisis teams, one located in each of the five Department regions. Community services boards or behavioral health authorities that serve the largest populations in each region, excluding those community services boards or behavioral health authorities already selected under subdivision 1, shall be selected for programs under this subdivision.

3. The Department shall establish additional Marcus alert systems and community care teams in geographical areas served by a community services board or behavioral health authority by July 1, 2024; July 1, 2025; and July 1, 2026. No later than July 1, 2026, all community services board and behavioral health authority geographical areas shall have established a Marcus alert system that uses a community care or mobile crisis team.

4. All community care teams and mobile crisis teams established under this section shall meet the standards set forth in § 37.2-311.3.

D. The Department shall assess and report on the impact and effectiveness of the comprehensive crisis system in meeting its goals. The assessment shall include the number of calls to the crisis call center, number of mobile crisis responses, number of crisis responses that involved law-enforcement backup, and overall function of the comprehensive crisis system. A portion of the report, focused on the function of the Marcus alert system and local protocols for law-enforcement participation in the Marcus alert system, shall be written in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice Services and shall include the number and description of approved local programs and how the programs interface comprehensive crisis system and mobile crisis response; the number of crisis incidents and injuries to any parties involved; a description of successes and problems encountered; and an analysis of the overall operation of any local protocols or programs, including any disparities in response and outcomes by race and ethnicity of individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis and recommendations for improvement of the programs. The report shall also include a specific plan to phase in a Marcus alert system and mobile crisis response in each remaining geographical area served by a community services board or behavioral health authority as required in subdivision C 3. The Department, in collaboration with the Department of Criminal Justice Services, shall (i) submit a report by November 15, 2021, to the Joint Commission on Health Care outlining progress toward the assessment of these factors and any assessment items that are available for the reporting period and (ii) submit a comprehensive annual report to the Joint Commission on Health Care by November 15 of each subsequent year.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 41, 42; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 248.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.