Morning Report: County Lacks Long-Term Care for Mental Health Patients - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: County Lacks Long-Term Care for Mental Health Patients

Alvarado Parkway Institute opened the Jackson House crisis center in La Mesa in 2017 to help address waits and delays hospital staff faced as they tried to move psychiatric patients into a limited number of other post-hospital options. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

More patients grappling with mental-health crises are seeking help in local hospitals and then confronting long, often costly waits for post-hospital care and housing.

Our Lisa Halverstadt has spent weeks digging into San Diego County’s mental-health system. Her latest reporting reveals that a countywide shortage of longer-term care options for psychiatric patients has led to a surge in the number of days patients are spending waiting for care.

At the same time, county data reveals the number of adult behavioral health patients with Medi-Cal insurance or without insurance being discharged from local hospitals has spiked nearly 60 percent over the last decade, putting more pressure on the region’s mental-health system.

County behavioral health officials, county supervisors and advocates agree that more post-hospital options are needed to stem those waits and the county has funded dozens of new beds for patients who need weeks or months of additional care.

Yet the long waits and confusion around exactly what options are available to patients leaving San Diego hospitals remain. Halverstadt explains the various types of post-hospital care and housing patients are seeking and both regional and statewide conversations about how to address gaps.

Governor Signs Major Police Use of Deadly Force Bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s blockbuster legislation overhauling standards for police use of force.

Weber’s AB 392 will only allow officers to use force when it’s necessary to defend themselves against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to officers or bystanders.

Our Sara Libby has written extensively about AB 392 and the significant change it will make in how officer-involved shootings are evaluated.

The bill’s path to the governor’s desk wasn’t without twists and turns. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins put a previous version of the bill on a two-year track last year after an avalanche of opposition from law enforcement groups. Weber introduced an amended version of the bill this year and law enforcement groups agreed to stand down.

At a Monday signing ceremony also attended by families who have lost loved ones in police shootings, Weber told reporters she wasn’t certain former Gov. Jerry Brown would have signed the bill.

“I can only imagine the battle I would be having with the governor’s office right now,” she said.

New Lawsuit Alleges More Medical Neglect at ICE Detention Centers

A class-action lawsuit from civil rights and immigration groups representing immigrant detainees in six states alleges systematic inadequate or non-existent medical care in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities – including the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego – building on a long history of similar allegations, reports VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan.

Last week, Srikrishnan published a story documenting medical complaints and cases of inadequate medical care at Otay Mesa. One man suffering from severe headaches and other lingering effects of a gunshot wound was reportedly given ibuprofen to deal with sporadic bleeding from his ears and eyes. Another man who is HIV-positive waited 25 days to be given his medication. Then, the medication he received was inappropriate, according to one doctor.

The new lawsuit details even more allegations of medical neglect in the facility. One asylum seeker detained at Otay Mesa was repeatedly denied treatment for severe back pain, according to the complaint. Facility guards forced her to walk without a mobility aid despite her repeated complaints. She fell, further injuring herself, and now must use a wheelchair.

Another man with a torn rotator cuff never had his medical records transferred when he transferred facilities. He is currently at his third detention facility waiting for a surgery that was recommended for a third time to him after a third MRI, since each facility insisted on re-evaluating him each time he was transferred.

The Insurance Industry Takes on Paradise

The Camp Fire destroyed about 90 percent of the homes in Paradise, California last year, and the town is now missing about 90 percent of its population from before the fire.

But among the list of issues keeping residents from returning, insurance has emerged as a central concern.

Ry Rivard, in his biweekly Environment Report, outlines some of the issues facing would-be Paradise homeowners, where some insurers are now selectively providing coverage. It’s the latest in his series on the opaque ways the insurance industry deals with fire risk across the state.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Maya Srikrishnan, and edited by Andrew Keatts.

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