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Advancing Children's Mental Health

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pamela DiSalvo Lepley
Executive Director
Division of University Relations
(804) 828-6057


The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System is planning to seek building approval for construction of a new pediatric psychiatric facility to provide state-of-the-art clinical care for children from across the state.

The Virginia General Assembly last year authorized funding for construction of a new facility for the Virginia Treatment Center for Children, or VTCC. The current, 50-year-old facility, located on VCU Medical Center?s downtown campus, will be replaced by a new, state-of-the-art pediatric behavioral health center to be built on the Brook Road Campus of Children?s Hospital of Richmond at VCU pending zoning and approval of the site through the Certificate of Public Need process.

Statistics show that about 100,000 children and adolescents in the Commonwealth are in need of mental health treatment. At times, children who require inpatient care—those with the most severe problems—cannot be admitted due to a shortage of beds. The new facility will provide additional beds for inpatient care as well as expanded outpatient capacity.

"The new facility will allow for a more robust environment for the VTCC?s clinical care, training and research missions," said Aradhana "Bela" Sood, M.D., medical director of the VTCC. "This service embodies the spirit of how our hospital cares for the whole child, and one more way we are creating a caring community for children."

VTCC provides services for children and adolescents with mental health issues ranging from depression and ADD/ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and behavioral problems at home and school. Last year, VTCC had approximately 750 inpatient admissions for children between the ages of 3 and 17, and its clinicians had more than 6,000 outpatient visits.

Children served by VTCC come from across Virginia—with more than half coming from outside the greater Richmond area. With telemedicine programs, VTCC physicians can reach pediatricians as far as Southwest Virginia.

VTCC offers crisis stabilization, evaluation and short-term treatment on an inpatient basis. Outpatient services include evaluation, medication management and therapy for the children with mental health issues and their families. The new facility will allow VTCC to develop new programs and services to better meet the needs of Virginia?s families.

If approved, the new facility would be complete in about three years. Answers to frequently asked questions are posted here.

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