RICHMOND- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the launch of a $2 million public/private initiative to provide mental health treatment through the Virginia Health Care Foundation. Today’s announcement is the result of a $2 million challenge grant McDonnell made one year ago while Attorney General of Virginia. The launch of the VHCF’s program, “A New Lease on Life,” will provide mental health care to uninsured Virginians all across the Commonwealth. As Attorney General, McDonnell issued a $1 million challenge grant to the Virginia Health Care Foundation. The money was a result of two successful multi-state settlements in 2008 secured by Virginia’s Attorney Generals office, and Attorneys General from other states, with two national pharmacy benefits management companies. Money from this challenge grant will underwrite nine grants throughout the state that will enable health safety net providers to treat uninsured Virginians suffering from basic mental health conditions, and provide primary health care for seriously mentally ill Virginians who are uninsured.
More information about last year’s challenge can be found here: http://www.vaag.com/PRESS_RELEASES/NewsArchive/021809_Challenge_Grant.html
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell noted, “It is remarkable that in these tough economic times the Virginia Health Care Foundation was able to rise to the challenge and raise $1 million to fund a critical program. With unemployment up and more people without health insurance, we must turn to public/private programs like ‘A New Lease on Life’ to provide critical health services to uninsured Virginians. Mental illness is treatable, but too many people go without care. The pilot programs being launched today will help to close the treatment gap and provide much needed help to people all across the Commonwealth.”
Gil Minor, chairman of the Virginia Health Care Foundation’s Fund Development Committee, remarked, “We conceived this challenge grant during better economic times, yet it was approved in the midst of the steep economic decline that we have all experienced. Although we knew that it would be very difficult to raise $1 million, we pressed on. The recession and its devastating effects have created an even greater need for services to treat serious depression and anxiety disorders in the uninsured. We are very grateful to the many companies, individuals and foundations which stepped up to help us meet this challenge.”
For more information about the Virginia Health Care Foundation’s Challenge Grant, please visit: http://www.vhcf.org/about/MentalHealth.php.