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SLO County to outsource psychiatric health facility | News | San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County’s solely low-income-serving psychiatric hospital is about to change fingers quickly.

The SLO County Health Agency is finalizing a contract with an outdoor vendor to take the reins of its 16-bed psychiatric health facility (PHF), an inpatient unit primarily serving grownup sufferers on Medi-Cal.

A remaining contract for the transition will go earlier than the SLO County Board of Supervisors at a December assembly.

“Our hope is someday in the summertime [of 2023] to transition over to the brand new vendor offering the providers,” Interim Health Agency Director Nick Drews stated. “The state has fairly a couple of PHFs which might be run privately or by nonprofits and never by a county particularly. It’s change into increasingly more of a pattern.”

The determination to outsource the PHF is a few decade within the making, division leaders informed New Times. They attribute current challenges in working an in-house PHF to the native psychiatrist scarcity.

“It’s actually troublesome to discover psychiatrists who will come and dwell right here,” County Behavioral Health Director Anne Robin stated. “The county workers who labored inside our unit are fabulous. They do an ideal job. It’s been the psychiatry protection that is been difficult.”

Robin added that recruiting psychiatrists for the PHF is particularly troublesome as a result of the county competes with the California Men’s Colony and Atascadero State Hospital for a similar medical doctors.

“For the psychiatrists who reside within the county, many need to work for these two state entities,” she stated.

And whereas outpatient workplaces can flip to telemedicine if vital, inpatient models require a psychiatrist to be on-site always—placing the facility in a relentless staffing bind.

“We serve people in psychiatric disaster who want a really excessive stage of care,” Robin stated, “who’re coming to us for therapy due to being a hazard to themselves or others, or who’re unable to present meals, shelter, and clothes due to their psychological sickness.”

One of the principle advantages of utilizing a third-party operator for the PHF is healthier psychiatric protection, in accordance to Drews. Most non-public contractors function multiple PHF and due to this fact have extra medical doctors on workers to deploy.

“Having an organization with a bigger pool to pull from is a profit, as a result of it is going to be lots simpler for them to discover a psychiatrist than it’s for us,” Drews stated.

The transition places the roles of almost 30 county workers in danger. Robin and Drews stated that the county will work onerous to both join the PHF employees with the brand new operator or discover totally different roles for them in different county departments.

The PHF is simply the newest SLO County facility to flip to the non-public sector for providers. In 2019, the county jail privatized health care following a spree of jail deaths and lawsuits alleging insufficient care.

Earlier this 12 months, the SLO County grand jury investigated the PHF as a part of a report that discovered deficiencies throughout the county’s psychological health care system.

Robin inspired the group to keep concerned within the psychological health dialog and hopes that extra individuals will be part of the sphere.

“I’m glad that spotlight is being paid to the necessity for psychological health providers, as a result of as we have seen, there is a rising want throughout the group and throughout the nation,” Robin stated. “We need to encourage people who find themselves thinking about psychological health to get into the sphere as a result of we actually want to construct up our workforce once more.” Δ

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