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Boost to teen mental health


County-provided mental health services will be available to teens 13 years and older for the first time under a three-year, nearly $24 million contract approved this week by the Board of Supervisors.

“The target population is youth ages 13 and above, adults and older adults, who are experiencing a psychiatric emergency, cannot wait for a regularly scheduled appointment and are at risk for hospitalization or out-of- home placement,” according to a staff report presented to the supervisors.

The “crisis stabilization unit” will assist patients “who present on a walk-in basis, by police drop-off and emergency department referral.”  The 10,000-square-foot outpatient facility will always stay open and can treat and evaluate individuals for no longer than a day.

“Services include psychiatric assessment, physical screening, medication services, collateral history, therapy, crisis intervention, education, nursing assessment, coordination of referrals to continuing care and emergency housing, discharge planning and facilitation of transfer of clients to inpatient treatment facilities, when clinically appropriate and indicated,” according to the county staff report.

The annual cost breakdown is $9.1 million in fiscal year 2017;18, $7.4 million the next fiscal year; and $7.4 million in the final fiscal year, according to county documents.

The contract begins July 1, but the facility will begin receiving patients in December 2017. The facility will be equipped to care for 22 Medi-Cal patients, as well as those on private insurance.

The building needs to be renovated, and officials expect that work to be done by May.

According to county officials, 54 percent of the funding is expected to come from the state and 46 percent from the federal government via Medi-Cal monies.