CSB offers same-day access

Published 11:18 am Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A total of 40 Community Services Boards (CSBs) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Crossroads, has been confirmed to allow same day access for mental health services.

The Office of the Governor, in a release Thursday, made the announcement about the services.

“A person in need of a mental health evaluation can now access walk-in hours at any CSB throughout Virginia without an appointment, instead of waiting days or even weeks to receive an assessment,” the release cited. “(Same day access) marks a dramatic shift from addressing mental health needs only when a crisis occurs to utilizing preventive care to help avoid emergencies and hospital admissions.”

A CSB is a community-based program that oversees mental health assistance. The Code of Virginia requires a CSB for regions in the state. Board of Supervisors around the region appoint community representatives who are members of the CSB.

Crossroads’ services covers Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland, Amelia, Charlotte, Lunenburg and Nottoway.

How would same day access work at Crossroads? Director of Outpatient Services Michele Ebright described the revised process.

Ebright said Crossroads has technically had same-day access since August 2018. She said it was somewhat slow-going at the beginning. As the program gains traction, Ebright estimates that Crossroads can see anywhere from five to six people a week, to 10-12 people a week.

Currently, those who need same day access can go to the medical services building at the Crossroads campus, located at 214 Bush River Drive, five days a week.

Ebright said mental health needs that Crossroads can service includes substance use among others.

If someone needs emergency care, Ebright said clients are typically transferred to the emergency services building, also located at the Crossroads campus.

Ebright gave a step-by-step walkthrough of what occurs during same day access.

Ebright said people would enter the medical services building, where mental health evaluations would take place. Once there, the secretarial staff would work with the clients on initial registration and financial paperwork.

Clients would then meet with licensed mental health professionals, who would conduct an in-depth clinical interview. This interview can take approximately an hour-and-a-half, Ebright said.

Following the interview, there is some additional paperwork.

Crossroads performs case assignments each Thursday. The assignments are delivered depending on the clients’ needs and what day they came in. Ebright estimated that clients would then hear back in a few days to schedule their first appointment for services.

Ebright said sometimes people can see the psychiatrist or nurse practitioner on the same day the clients came in. Ebright said this is rare, and depends on whether or not the psychiatrist or nurse practitioner are in the office.

Ebright said Crossroads can take referrals from agencies such as Centra Southside Community Hospital, Longwood University or Hampden-Sydney College. Typically, Ebright said clients come in on their own at the recommendation of the health agency.

“It’s typically whatever is most convenient for the client,” Ebright said.

Ebright said the same day access allows Crossroads to deliver services to people more quickly than they had before.

“In the past, before we had this as an option, you would have to call our intake person, and you would have to get scheduled for an in-take evaluation,” Ebright said. “And depending on how many people had basically called ahead of you, you could end up waiting two or three weeks to get that evaluation done.”

Ebright said this can solve a common issue: cancelations by clients who may change their minds due to the long wait for an evaluation. This program allows people, on the day they need it most, to start the process of receiving services for their mental health.

“Our no-show rate for people who had appointments for (evaluations) was extremely high,” Ebright said. “The same-day access allows us to strike while the iron is hot.”