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Mental Health Advocates Concerned By Loss Of Inpatient Beds At Tri-City

Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside recently announced the closing of its in...

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside recently announced the closing of its inpatient mental health and crisis stabilization units, June 2018.

Mental Health Advocates Concerned

GUEST:

Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

Mental health advocates are reacting to the decision by Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside to close its inpatient mental health and crisis stabilization units.

Tri-City Medical Center is a community district hospital run by a publicly elected board. The board has decided to suspend operations of the hospital’s inpatient mental health services and expand outpatient services

Cathryn Nacario is CEO of the San Diego chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She said the loss of Tri-City’s inpatient behavioral health services may affect psychiatric emergency response or PERT teams, who work with law enforcement to provide appropriate responses to crisis situations.

"It really does leave a big void in the North County community," she said, "with 29 beds going away for inpatient services."

Nacario said that is almost one-third of the inpatient mental health beds in North County.

"It’s going to be challenging for the residents of North County," she said, "because the need is so great for inpatient services, Palomar and Pomerado both have waiting lists for their inpatient units, so there’s not going to be availability of immediate acute treatment that many of these clients need to start their own journey to recovery."

Tri-City Medical Center did not respond to requests for an interview but said in a statement that aging facilities and new federal regulations, plus a shortage of psychiatrists, caused the shutdown. About 80 employees will be transitioned to other positions.

Mental health advocates are reacting to the decision by North County’s Tri-City Medical Center to close its inpatient mental health and crisis stabilization units.

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