Los Angeles Supervisors Approve Two-Year Plan To Address Increase in Emergency Psychiatric Patients
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to approve a two-year, $7.2 million package to help address a 16% increase in emergency psychiatric patients over the last year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The increased demand, coupled with the recent closure of seven private hospitals, has forced many county-run emergency departments to go on diversion.
As part of the package, the board approved the establishment of an emergency psychiatric clinic at the Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Center at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. The new "crisis stabilization unit" at King/Drew will cost $3.8 million over two years. It will be equipped to treat as many as 12 psychiatric patients who are in immediate need of short-term help and will be staffed by psychologists, nurses and other employees.
The remaining $3.4 million approved by supervisors will go to other efforts, such as improving follow-up care after patients are discharged from hospitals.
The board also asked health officials to develop a plan for another short-term psychiatric treatment center -- similar to the one at King/Drew and a similar clinic in Long Beach -- to be established at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said, "I'd like to see something in every part of the county."
Roderick Shaner, medical director of the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, said, "What this does is provide more choices" (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 12/1).