Medical Providers Strive To Adapt to Sacramento County Mental Care Cuts
Recent cuts to Sacramento County mental health programs are forcing local health care providers to come up with new ways to deal with an influx of psychiatric patients, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Cuts to Mental Health Programs
Over the past year, Sacramento County has closed the crisis unit at its Mental Health Treatment Center and reduced the number of inpatient beds from 100 to 50.
In addition, the county's four regional support teams for outpatient mental health care have reduced their patient roster from 2,000 to 900.
Scott Seamons of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California said area emergency departments have seen a 65% increase in psychiatric patients since the county began cutting mental health services. Seamons added that the region's EDs are holding 12 to 15 mental health patients at any given time.
Responding To Increased Patient Load
Bill Sandberg, executive director of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, said some EDs are increasing their security and psychiatric staffing in response to the flood of new patients.
Robert Caulk, executive director of the not-for-profit outpatient health clinic The Effort, said his facility hired three additional psychiatrists to keep up with the 1,000 new patients it has seen since July.
Mary Ann Bennett, county mental health director, said officials are considering proposals to expand access to The Effort and other federally qualified health centers. She said officials also have contemplated opening several small county clinics specifically for patients enrolled in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Hubert, Sacramento Bee, 3/14).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.