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Momentum builds for psychiatric facility opening
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On Tuesday, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved several items related to the opening of the new Psychiatric Health Facility, which is set to begin operation on March 1.

The project, which included an estimated cost of $2.16 million for renovations of an existing vacant facility in Ceres, has been the center of attention for many county officials, as it marks the first free-standing mental health rehabilitation center within county limits.

In the past year, county staff began meeting with all area hospitals to form a working relationship focused on addressing the psychiatric bed capacity issues resulting from a dramatic increase in acute psychiatric inpatient admissions. As the need to secure programs to meet the County’s mandated obligations grew, the County turned to opening a new 16-bed Psychiatric Health Facility designed to require less staff than an acute psychiatric hospital.

According to Supervisor Jim DeMartini, the facility will reduce overall costs to the County by $1.5 million while providing better services to county residents.

“The dramatic increase in acute psychiatric inpatient admissions has impacted bed capacity, and creates a financial burden for the County,” said DeMartini. “An existing and now vacant residential facility located at the County’s Stanislaus Recovery Center site in Ceres is currently being renovated and is on track to open March 1 of this year.”

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors authorized the project manager to use the cost savings from the budgeted Psychiatric Health Facility Project funds in the amount of $45,000, while increasing revenue and appropriations in the Mental Health Fund to pay for the facility’s startup costs, including equipment purchases and installation of utilities.

Additionally, the Supervisors authorized the Psychiatric Health Facility, located at 1904 Richland Avenue in Ceres, as a designated facility for the detention, supervision, care and treatment of persons who are mentally disordered, or who are alleged to be such. The designation, which also applies to the adjacent Crisis Intervention and Crisis Emergency Response Team facility, authorizes the facility for 72-hour treatment and evaluation.

As a license inpatient facility designated to provide 72-hour treatment and evaluation services, the Psychiatric Health Facility will have legal authority to involuntarily detain individuals. Under the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, in order to be held involuntarily, there must be probable cause that, due to a mental disorder, the person is a danger to him/herself, a danger to others, or gravely disabled and unable to provide for his/her personal needs for food, clothing and shelter.

According to the Board of Supervisors, having the facility designated as a 72-hour treatment and evaluation facility supports their priorities of providing a safe and healthy community.

The facility will be operated by Telecare Corporation, who is currently coordinating the transition into the facility alongside the County Chief Executive Office and the Stanislaus Behavioral Health and Recovery Services department.