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County-Owned Hillcrest Property Found Feasible For Behavioral Health Facility

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at a press conference Oct. 28, 2019, announcing a ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at a press conference Oct. 28, 2019, announcing a dilapidated County property Hillcrest has been deemed appropriate to build Central Region Behavioral Health Hub.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Monday that a county-owned property in Hillcrest has been deemed feasible as the site for a behavioral health facility.

Fletcher first proposed redeveloping the dilapidated property at 4308 Third Ave. into a behavioral health center in March, and the county has been conducting a feasibility study since then.

The 7.24-acre parcel of land has been vacant for roughly 10 years and was once a potential site for a luxury apartment complex.

The facility would provide behavioral health support from UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health through a partnership with San Diego County. It would offer multiple services like crisis stabilization, inpatient and intensive outpatient care and partnerships with long-term behavioral and mental healthcare facilities to ensure patients regain stability.

"The commitment of significant resources by the county to move forward with the hub model not just in the central region, but in other parts of the county, is substantive progress in just seven months," Fletcher said. "This is a vital step toward having a region with a stronger, more integrated behavioral health continuum of care that serves the most vulnerable people."

According to UCSD Health CEO Patty Maysent, bringing the county's behavioral health operations under the organization's license could secure up to $20 million in federal Medicaid funding to be invested into the behavioral health system.

Scripps Health's participation in the partnership will enable the organization to expand its number of inpatient beds and services for vulnerable residents in need of mental healthcare.

"While complicated, we welcome the opportunity to bring Scripps Health into the discussion," Maysent said. "My belief has always been that if we all work together and keep focused on the needs of our patients, we can develop something extraordinary for our region."

The facility is expected to cost roughly $115 million, according to Fletcher's office.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the feasibility report during its meeting Tuesday morning. Fletcher hopes to have a final agreement between the county, UCSD Health and Scripps Health in place by January to begin the process of building the facility.

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