Supervisors OK Plan for Alvarado Hospital Behavioral Health Center

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Alvarado Hospital
Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. Photo via Facebook of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center

The count Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan for a less expensive behavioral health facility in Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in downtown San Diego.

According to Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher’s office, the facility will provide additional services related to mental health and addictions treatment. When it opens in late 2023, the Central Regional Behavioral Health Hub will include 44 new acute inpatient beds, a crisis stabilization unit and an emergency psychiatric unit.

Along with an agreement creating the facility, supervisors approved $3 million in architectural design improvements to the Alvarado facility. If negotiations are successful, the County Purchasing and Contracting Department Manager may also enter into a sole-source contract with the hospital to process Medical the patients.

The plan “will allow us to bring the services we envisioned for the Central Regional Behavioral Health Hub online much more quickly,” Fletcher said in a statement. “It also gives us the opportunity to create greater capacity across the system, as it frees up our resources and enables us to provide more post-acute and long-term care services across the region.

Located near San Diego State University, Alvarado Hospital will serve as a licensed behavioral health center operator. The county will provide a health plan, while UC San Diego Health will take care of the medical surveillance.

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said overall using Alvarado Hospital is a win.

“We’ve all agreed for a long time that this needed to move forward,” she said.

Fletcher said the Alvarado site “is a hub” of a 2019 proposal to turn a county-owned plot on Third Avenue in the Hillcrest neighborhood into a behavioral health facility.

According to Fletcher’s office, it would have cost nearly $400 million to develop the Hillcrest site, while the Alvarado project has a price tag of around $130 million.

County staff now plan to use the Third Avenue site to provide long-term care, and next month will review bed capacity data for “the right mix of services,” according to Fletcher’s office.

Patty Maysent, CEO of UCSD Health System, said using Alvarado Hospital “is a very elegant solution to a problem we’ve been trying to solve for some time now.”

She said the new behavioral health center “will make a big difference in mental health services for the community.”

City News Service contributed to this article.

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