CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Walnut Creek Hospital to Close Doors
Walnut Creek Hospital, the only acute-care psychiatric hospital in Contra Costa County that accepts adolescents, will close at the end of this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Walnut Creek's Nashville-based parent company, Behavioral Health Care Corp., has sold the building to the John Muir Medical Center, prompting the closure. County officials and hospital staff say they were "stunned" by the sudden news and worry that mentally ill children will lack needed care. The 104-bed hospital reserves 18 beds for children under age 12 and 28 beds for adolescents. Walnut Creek CEO Jay Kellison said, "We often ran at capacity for adolescent and children beds. We had to turn patients away or put them on waiting lists. We didn't even have enough services, and now we're going to be gone." Donna Gerber, chair of the county's board of supervisors, added, "I have serious concerns about [the closure]. There's a lack of psychiatric beds in general ... This could have a serious impact." Patricia Hefner, a spokesperson for John Muir Medical Center, said the medical center bought the building "because it is surrounded by medical center property," adding, "There are a number of options being considered for the land but no specific plans at this time." According to Hefner, the medical center will convert 24 beds in its Concord psychiatric center into adolescent spots (Hallissy, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.