Second Annual Virginia Behavioral Health Summit Brings Together Mental Health Professionals, Advocates, and Stakeholders for Collaboration, Shared Learning

September 25, 2019

Scheduled for Thursday, September 26, the 2019 Virginia Behavioral Health Summit, Presented by the VHHA Foundation, Features Headlining Speakers Nic Sheff, a Bestselling Author Whose Experience with Addiction Inspired the Motion Picture ‘Beautiful Boy,’ and Technology Entrepreneur Mandy Antoniacci

RICHMOND, VA – Scores of behavioral health care providers, public health professionals, advocates, law enforcement officials, and stakeholders are gathering tomorrow in Richmond for the second annual Virginia Behavioral Health Summit. The Summit, presented by the VHHA Foundation, provides participants with an opportunity to convene and network with their peers while obtaining new tools and ideas to help improve outcomes for individuals with a range of behavioral health issues.

This year’s Summit is being held at the Westin Richmond, 6631 W. Broad Street from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 and features headlining speakers Nic Sheff, a New York Times bestselling author and speaker whose struggle with addiction inspired the 2018 movie Beautiful Boy, and technology entrepreneur and noted TEDTalk speaker Mandy Antoniacci. The Summit will also feature remarks from Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marvin Figueroa and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region III Director Matthew E. Baker, as well as a series of informative breakout sessions on topics ranging from psychiatric nursing and facility design, to medication-assisted treatment, care transformation, and more. Representatives from VCU Health, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA), the Richmond Police Department, Virginia Hospital Center, InSight Telepsychiatry, ncgCare, and Array Architects will lead those sessions. Summit registration is available through this link.

“As is the case in states across the nation, Virginia has experienced growing demand for behavioral health services. Last year alone, Virginia hospitals accommodated nearly 50,000 inpatient psychiatric admissions involving patients seeking voluntary treatment and those committed for care,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “Working alongside state partners, stakeholders, and community advocates, the hospital community is deeply engaged in the work of behavioral health system redesign in Virginia to better serve patients. Hospitals’ commitment to enhancing behavioral health treatment services in the Commonwealth is also exemplified by investments that will add as many as 160 new adult and pediatric psychiatric beds at facilities around Virginia over the next few years.”

Added VHHA Foundation CEO Tracey A. van Marcke: “Virginia hospitals strive to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Programs like the Virginia Behavioral Health Summit offer key stakeholders from across the Commonwealth a chance to come together and learn successful strategies and best practices that can be applied to serving patient populations in local communities. The VHHA Foundation is proud to facilitate these conversations through educational programming, events, and securing funding for collaborative efforts such as the ‘Partnering for a Healthy Virginia’ initiative with the Virginia Department of Health to address social factors that impact public health, and the grant-funded Virginia Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program focused on hospital and community-based strategies to support victims of violent crime through recovery and lead productive lives that aren’t defined by their victimization.”

The Virginia Behavioral Health Summit is being held as the Commonwealth and the hospital community continue to work to enhance mental health system access in Virginia to meet the psychiatric treatment needs of patients. Both state and private hospitals continue to face growing demands for treatment services that can stress available treatment capacity. Community hospitals accommodated 29,278 voluntary admissions in 2018 as well as 20,220 admissions involving patients admitted under temporary detention orders (TDO). To help address growing psychiatric treatment needs, Virginia hospitals and health systems have proposed several strategies including enhanced use of telepsychiatry, the creation of a Medicaid benefit for mental health partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment to reduce inpatient admissions, and greater access to crisis services for patients with substance use disorders to help reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. These strategies can help free up bed space so that those seeking inpatient treatment can receive care promptly. Virginia hospitals have also partnered with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians on the development and implementation of statewide Medical Assessment and Screening Guidelines to enhance timely access to treatment for psychiatric patients by establishing baseline standards for use when evaluating people who arrive at hospital emergency departments to determine the proper setting for their care.

The VHHA Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the VHHA, thanks the sponsors and corporate partners whose generous support helps facilitate the 2019 Virginia Behavioral Health Summit:

  • VHHA Foundation Corporate Partners: Alteon Health, Lumeris, US Acute Care Solutions, and VHHA Shared Services;
  • Luncheon Sponsor: Alkermes;
  • Reception Sponsor: Insight TelePsychiatry;
  • Summit Sponsors: Cordant Health Solutions (a VHHA Shared Services endorsed partner), Recovery Centers of America, and Valley Health; and
  • Friends of the Foundation: Connect Virginia HIE, Mental Health America-Virginia Chapter, NAMI Central Virginia, and the Virginia Commission on Youth.

About VHHA Foundation: The VHHA Foundation, formerly the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation, is the charitable non-profit affiliate of VHHA. Its focus is on improving the health of Virginians through collaboration, research, and education for Virginia’s hospitals and health systems. The foundation provides continuing education programs for Virginia’s health care professionals through conferences, seminars, and webinars. VHHA Foundation also supports research and patient safety and quality programs. Learn more at

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and

Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
(804) 297-3193 office
(804) 304-7402 mobile