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County strikes ahead with bold plan to remake psychological well being system

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County supervisors universally praised a sweeping imaginative and prescient for transformation of the area’s psychological well being care system Tuesday, highlighting the specificity of the plans introduced ahead to date.

As outlined by Luke Bergmann, the county’s director of behavioral well being, the mannequin recommends shifting towards less-restrictive venues to serve the 1000’s of residents who use such care day by day, including nursing dwelling and “respite” capability however holding comparatively regular on the native variety of beds in locked hospital behavioral well being models.

“To get the place we should be, we now have to radically increase our infrastructure and workforce,” Bergmann mentioned.

Although the duty is huge, the supervisors did not appear notably daunted.

Terra Lawson-Remer, whose third district spans the coast from Coronado to Carlsbad, mentioned the plan begins to right many years of underfunding.

“We have had, actually because the early Nineteen Eighties, an abandonment of our collective public accountability to behavioral well being throughout California, and definitely right here in San Diego County; the place that has led us is a spot of fairly acute disaster,” Lawson-Remer mentioned.

The plan, which county staffers are calling an “Optimum Care Pathways Mannequin,” requires working with private and non-private well being care suppliers and different authorities companies to encourage and supply incentives for prevention of as much as 40 p.c of present stays in locked models.

That is a really particular purpose, and one which Joel Anderson, who represents East County, praised for its readability. Too usually, he mentioned, efforts round psychological well being initiatives have appeared over centered on “checking containers” quite than on laying out tangible objectives.

“Individuals have been going by means of the motions, however they weren’t interested by outcomes,” Anderson mentioned. “What I really like about that is it is consequence based mostly.”

Anderson thanked board chair Nathan Fletcher for his long-standing advocacy of native psychological well being reform, and Fletcher mentioned in an announcement after the assembly that he’s “happy with our progress, however there stays considerably extra work to do.”

Bergmann made it clear that such a discount, and a simultaneous shift to a extra preventive mannequin of operation, is not going to happen in a single day. However he added that he’ll return in mid-October with a long-range services plan to set the mannequin introduced Tuesday in movement.

Some points of that plan have already been shared with the general public, akin to working with Alvarado Hospital in La Mesa to create an expanded inpatient unit that may be collectively operated with UC San Diego Well being. The unit, Bergmann added, is meant to serve on the county’s foremost security internet facility, taking that job from the county’s present behavioral well being hospital on Rosecrans Avenue in San Diego’s Halfway district.

Rosecrans, he mentioned, might then be redeveloped as a talented nursing facility for these in want of long-term behavioral well being therapy.

Plans are additionally underway so as to add board-and-care capability at a county-owned property on Third Avenue and at an as-yet-undisclosed location in El Cajon. Collectively, the director mentioned, these two places might take a giant chunk out of the estimated 400 further board-and-care beds wanted to accommodate those that end psychological well being therapy however nonetheless want a steady place to remain.

“Whereas our objectives are bold, we will probably be making a considerable headway in brief order,” Bergmann mentioned.

The county can also be transferring ahead with a plan to construct a psychological well being hub in El Cajon with a disaster stabilization middle the place sufferers can keep for as much as 24 hours. Whereas Tuesday’s presentation indicated that the service ought to be up and operating by the autumn of 2024, officers nonetheless haven’t specified its actual location.

Youngsters are additionally a major a part of the county’s multi-pronged behavioral well being enchancment program, with a “screening to care” initiative increasing in native faculties and growth plans underway at Rady Youngsters’s Hospital.

The UC San Diego Faculty of Drugs additionally introduced this week that it has acquired a $12 million, five-year grant from the Nationwide Institutes of Psychological Well being to create a analysis middle to check higher methods to enhance little one entry to psychological well being sources. The middle is to be directed by researchers Lauren Brookman-Frazee and Gregory Adams.

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