Plan for Adolescent Psychiatric Unit in the Works for Central Valley
Five counties in the San Joaquin Valley are developing a proposal for Community Medical Centers in Fresno to open an adolescent psychiatric unit to minimize patients having to be sent to Bakersfield and Sacramento for such treatment, the Fresno Bee reports.
Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties are collaborating to create a nine-bed adolescent psychiatric unit at Community Behavioral Health Center, which is operated by Community Medical Centers.
Under the nine-bed plan, the counties would negotiate a daily rate with Community Behavioral. Each county would have a contract specifying how many beds it would fill.
The counties have yet to negotiate rates with Community, and hospital officials last week said it was too early to make a commitment.
A similar plan to have Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia open an adolescent psychiatric facility fell apart in 2006.
Giang Nguyen, Fresno County's director of behavioral health, said she wants to have an agreement by July. Nguyen also said a recent analysis shows that a nine-bed unit would be large enough to avoid sending most of the San Joaquin Valley's adolescent patients out of the area for treatment.
County mental health directors also said they especially like a provision of the proposal that aimed to boost the region's supply of child psychiatrists by creating a specialty training program at Community (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 5/3).