Fifty years ago, this country began closing mental hospitals where people with psychiatric disorders were often warehoused. The idea was to send patients back to their communities, where they would live better lives with help from local mental health programs.
Unfortunately, those services were limited, and many people ended up on the streets or behind bars. Today, up to 18% of inmates in Virginia prisons are taking drugs for psychiatric conditions, and critics say some are being punished because they can’t comply with prison rules.
In the wake of this week’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, some Virginia lawmakers are renewing their push for new gun control measures. While that effort is unlikely to go anywhere, there seems to be bipartisan agreement the Pentagon needs to review the access it grants contractors.
As the demand for health care services is set to expand under the federal Affordable Care Act, a new report suggests that Virginia is in short supply of those doctors needed to handle the influx of patients.
The need for primary care and family practice doctors will be especially great. The state's Joint Commission on Health Care is looking for solutions.
The state of Virginia spends an average of $5,300 a year per inmate for medical care in prisons, and that cost has been rising 5-7 percent per year, but taxpayers may not be getting their money’s worth, and people locked up for minor crimes could be paying with their lives.