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New Mandate Could Further Stress San Diego’s Clogged Behavioral Health System

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A scarcity of long-term care choices for behavioral well being sufferers that has for years fueled a clogged care system turned a fair greater downside in the course of the pandemic.  


The COVID-19 disaster that restricted healthcare entry additional uncovered San Diego County’s deficit of psychiatric step-down care and housing that had already led to lengthy waits in hospital beds and delays for others looking for hospital care.  

County knowledge obtained by Voice of San Diego reveals the variety of days that grownup behavioral well being sufferers with Medi-Cal insurance coverage spent ready in hospital beds for post-hospital care surged 48 % from fiscal 12 months 2020 to 2021.  

A security evaluation type in a medical examination room at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital on Sept. 20, 2022. / Picture by Ariana Drehsler

Sufferers additionally collectively spent greater than 19,000 days ready in hospital beds regionwide after docs determined they have been able to be discharged to a decrease degree of care in the course of the fiscal 12 months that ended this June. That complete is 40 % greater than the waits reported two years in the past. 

These waits have wreaked havoc on the remainder of the system and an upcoming state mandate to supply and compel therapy by the state’s new CARE Courtroom initiative by October 2023 will put extra stress on the area’s restricted choices. If the county can’t ship civil court-ordered take care of CARE Courtroom individuals, it may face fines of as much as $1,000 a day.  

Steve Koh, chief of normal psychiatry at UC San Diego Well being, mentioned he fears extra sufferers shall be caught ready in emergency rooms absent new long-term choices. 

“The place am I imagined to ship them?” he mentioned. 


County officers who’ve lately centered most of their investments in disaster companies reasonably than back-end assets anticipated to be essential touchdown locations for CARE Courtroom individuals are pledging motion. They plan to quickly unveil an evaluation of the area’s want for longer-term care choices, and an growth technique.  

County supervisors additionally lately created a coaching fund to handle the area’s scarcity of behavioral well being staff. County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher argues the scarcity is hampering efforts to increase companies. 

Fletcher and Mayor Todd Gloria, each advocates of CARE Courtroom reforms, notice that Gov. Gavin Newsom has devoted vital funding to assist counties increase their behavioral well being methods, together with $1.5 billion for so-called bridge housing. 

Clearing present clogs within the behavioral well being system – and serving CARE Courtroom individuals – will probably relaxation on the county’s means to ship new beds. 


Traditionally, there have been three phases of medical take care of sufferers in psychiatric misery: the emergency room, an inpatient hospital mattress the place sufferers may stabilize and post-hospital care for specialised therapy. 

A shortfall within the latter class has triggered a systemwide backup.  

Exhibit A: On a single day in late August, 10 of the 36 inpatient behavioral well being beds at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest have been crammed with sufferers ready to maneuver to a different degree of care, that means greater than 1 / 4 of Scripps beds weren’t obtainable to sufferers in disaster.  


The county has funded so-called disaster stabilization items the previous few years so fewer psychiatric sufferers enter native ERs after which inpatient beds, however sufferers nonetheless want someplace to go after they depart native hospitals. 

These hospital sufferers awaiting beds at long-term care amenities waited a median of 48 days between July 2021 and April, in accordance with county knowledge obtained by Voice. 

Christiana Paul, a vp at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, mentioned waits problem each sufferers and hospital workers. 

“It simply actually sticks this individual with us for these lengthy durations of instances the place this individual has cycles of nice enchancment, after which due to the size of the time within the hospital, (they) might even regress, which could be very demoralizing for the affected person and the workers,” Paul mentioned. 

Psychiatric social employee Carrie Dillon speaks to a different group member on Sept. 20, 2022 a few affected person being discharged from Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. Dillon and her colleagues are tasked with discovering step-down placements for sufferers who want further care after they depart the hospital. / Picture by Ariana Drehsler

The San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital has been hit with lengthy waits too. The county studies common wait instances to maneuver sufferers from the county hospital to a state hospital surged to a median of about three years from July 2020 by June 2021. That’s up from about 5 months within the 2019 fiscal 12 months. 


“Generally now we have to go for a unique degree of care, or they wait within the hospital till we are able to place them,” mentioned Annie Vizcarra, social companies supervisor at Alvarado Parkway Institute.  

Aaron Mellon, a skilled peer counselor with bipolar dysfunction who grappled with homelessness on and off for greater than a decade, estimated he has watched a number of dozen associates stabilize in hospitals solely to be pressured again onto the road.  

“For lots of people, it’s a endless loop,” Mellon mentioned. 

Clairemont resident Anastasia’s 26-year-old son has bipolar dysfunction with psychotic options and has been hospitalized a number of instances since 2020. She mentioned he struggled at unbiased residing amenities even whereas enrolled in an intensive therapy program.  

Garments sit on cabinets and are given to sufferers as quickly as attainable however can fluctuate from affected person to affected person at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital on Sept. 20, 2022.

Anastasia mentioned she was repeatedly informed there have been no openings in board-and-care properties, which usually present residents with help with treatment and higher oversight. The properties lengthy thought-about essential housing choices for folks with critical psychological sicknesses are a shrinking useful resource statewide. 

After one five-day hospital keep for an an infection and one other 5 days at nursing facility this spring, Anastasia and her son’s case managers agreed he shouldn’t return to his unbiased residing dwelling, however there was no house in a board-and-care dwelling.  


He moved into her Clairemont dwelling, forcing Anastasia to get permission to work at home. 

Carol, a retired trainer who lives in Tierrasanta, mentioned her 41-year-daughter recognized with schizophrenia has been kicked out of greater than 15 unbiased residing properties within the final 13 years. A number of facility managers have mentioned she belongs in a board-and-care facility.  

“She wants the next degree of care,” Carol mentioned.  

They haven’t discovered it. 

Certainly, 2-1-1 San Diego reported the area misplaced practically 400 board-and-care beds over the past decade. 


Expert nursing amenities match for behavioral well being sufferers with medical points are additionally scarce. 

Psychiatrists say the sicker the affected person, the harder it’s to discover a place for them. 

Earlier this 12 months, the state awarded the county $12.4 million for a 12-bed psychiatric unit in its Edgemoor Expert Nursing Facility to permit residents to get psychiatric care with out transferring. 

Transferring into psychological well being rehabilitation amenities means lengthy waits, too. 

Native hospital methods mentioned waits rose considerably in the course of the pandemic however are leveling off at a one-to-three month wait. 


The scenario may have been worse. Earlier than the pandemic, the county funded dozens extra psychological well being rehabilitation beds. 

Psychiatric social staff Carrie Dillon (left) and Jacqueline Rivera (proper) work at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital on Sept. 20, 2022. They’re tasked with discovering step-down placements for sufferers who want further care after they depart the hospital. / Picture by Ariana Drehsler

The area has additionally added practically 2,300 everlasting supportive housing slots for previously homeless people who find themselves thought-about notably susceptible – together with folks with critical psychological sicknesses – since early 2019. However these additions haven’t dramatically diminished waits in hospitals and lots of behavioral well being sufferers require extra help than these amenities supply.  

“The actual fact of the matter is we simply want extra post-acute care,” mentioned Dimitrios Alexiou, CEO of the Hospital Affiliation of San Diego and Imperial Counties. 

Nadia Privara Brahms of the county’s behavioral well being companies division lately informed an advisory board the county plans to spice up step-down care and can share its wants at a Sept. 27 assembly. 

“As an alternative of being caught in additional acute care or not with the ability to get care in any respect as a result of these ranges of care or sorts of beds that they want don’t exist, the objective is to proceed to construct out capability a lot of which is within the decrease, much less restrictive areas of care to verify shoppers get linked after which they can get care long-term,” Privara Brahms mentioned. 

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San Diego, CA

New U-T Sports Editor Boasts San Diego Coverage in His Blood: Sportswriter Dad

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Ryan Finley grew up a Padres fan in San Diego and stayed a Friars devotee as a sports activities editor in Tucson. Picture through Arizona Day by day Star

Joe Musgrove’s return to San Diego to pitch for the Padres was a staple storyline of their latest division title season.

Ryan Finley is aware of it nicely.

Now Finley resides the identical form of dream.

The College of San Diego Excessive Faculty graduate, who continued his journalism training on the College of Arizona and have become a sportswriter and editor in Tucson, is coming dwelling as nicely.

On Jan. 9, he’ll begin work as sports activities editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune after holding the identical title on the Arizona Day by day Star for nearly 9 years. He succeeds Jay Posner, whose final day was Friday.


“Tucson’s nice, and the Star has been dwelling for practically half my life, [but] the chance to return to San Diego and work at my hometown paper was too good to cross up,” Finley advised Instances of San Diego. “My mother lives there, as does a sister, a brother, their spouses and 5 of my nieces and nephews.”

Finley, 42, follows within the footsteps of his father, Invoice Finley, a sports activities staffer at The San Diego Union and sister afternoon Tribune from 1965 to 1984.

“Ryan doesn’t want my recommendation, however we talked about [the U-T job],” Invoice stated this week through electronic mail. “I requested if he wanted any typewriter ribbons or my outdated Thomas Brothers map guide from the ’80s. He stated they don’t use these anymore? Truthfully, I learn each papers daily and the U-T made an excellent rent right here.”

Says Ryan: “The U-T has been part of my life because the day I discovered how you can learn, and in some ways it’s the paper that I evaluate all others to — even now. I can’t wait to get began.”

Ryan’s twin brother, Pat, is within the newspaper sport as nicely — masking the Bears for the Chicago Solar-Instances. (Pat interned on the U-T throughout grad faculty 20 years in the past.)


Ryan and his spouse, Kim, have three younger boys — 8-year-old twins and an 11-year-old.

U-T employees was knowledgeable of the rent earlier this week. A public announcement is deliberate for January, says editor in chief Jeff Gentle.

The elder Finley coated the Padres, San Diego State Aztecs and nationwide school basketball. Ryan will boast a deep bench of veteran beat writers plus the 76-year-old dean of San Diego sports activities — Nick Canepa.

Ryan says he is aware of Canepa by way of his mother and father and labored alongside prep sportswriter John Maffei when Ryan was a part of the North County Instances’ workplace in Temecula simply after school.

“Jay and I communicated for years through electronic mail and Twitter, serving to one another out if somebody wanted a photograph,” Ryan stated, noting how loads of San Diegans find yourself taking part in collegiately at Arizona.

The previous and future U-T sports activities editors commiserated concerning the Padres, he stated, “however we hadn’t actually talked till the interview course of started.”

He added: “I actually hope I can lean on Jay, and he has been gracious sufficient to supply as a lot assist as I would like. … I’ve been struck already by how he championed his reporters. If you happen to labored for Jay, Jay had your again.”

An outdated biography advised of how Ryan Finley, as a USDHS senior, was sports activities editor of El Cid, the campus paper.


He positioned within the high 10 of over 200 entries on the Better San Diego highschool write-off, the bio stated.

“At all times a sports activities fan, Ryan had the uncommon alternative to be the youngest journalist masking the 1998 California State Basketball Championships in Sacramento, … contributing to each El Cid and the native Southern Cross,” the Catholic diocese paper.

The bio continued:

As soon as reaching Tucson, Finley was employed to the [University Daily] Wildcat employees, the one freshman on the sports activities desk. His first 12 months on the paper noticed Ryan cowl every little thing from lacrosse to hockey to males’s basketball.

Between the months of October and March, Ryan coated the Arizona Icecats, the varsity’s hockey staff. The expertise noticed Finley make frequent appearances as a between-periods visitor on KNST (790 AM) whereas masking the staff. Ryan was additionally the youngest journalist on the press desk for Arizona males’s basketball video games, including characteristic tales to Monday’s protection.


Finley says it’s too early to speak about protection plans.

“I’d like to jot down periodically, if it helps the part,” he stated. “I’ll co-host the Scorching Lava podcast (concerning the Padres with Kevin Acee), which I contemplate a perk of the job.”

He says he hasn’t missed an episode over time. (It started in 2018.)

“I feel the Padres have the items to be VERY good, once more,” Finley stated. “For somebody who grew up going to video games through the ‘Hearth Sale’ period, I’m fascinated by their go-for-broke strategy and willingness to spend.”

Proud papa Invoice, who went into public relations after his U-T years, retired 5 years in the past from a job on the College of Arizona.


“I now work with the Tucson Competition of Books and write a guide column for the Day by day Star,” he stated. “Keep in mind the outdated joke? Journalism is like leukemia — it will get in your blood.”

Ryan advised of his dad being excited for him.

Wrote Ryan: “Did he actually ship you some quote about typewriters?!”

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San Diego, CA

5 Arrested in San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force Sting

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cuffs, handcuffs
Picture credit score: Alexander Nguyen

Authorities arrested 5 folks throughout a countywide legislation enforcement operation focusing on human traffickers, they stated Thursday.

The multi-agency San Diego Human Trafficking Activity Drive performed Operation House for the Holidays over three days this week in San Diego, Nationwide Metropolis and Santee.

In an effort to establish traffickers and trafficking victims, undercover officers posed as clients responding to on-line commercials for intercourse.

The 5 arrests have been for alleged pimping and pandering, in addition to different offenses, in line with California Lawyer Normal Rob Bonta’s workplace.

The Lawyer Normal’s workplace stated in a press release that 21 individuals who met with undercover officers have been supplied entry to assets and supportive companies.

The operation follows an analogous San Diego County sting performed final month over 4 days that resulted in 30 arrests in Encinitas, Nationwide Metropolis, Santee and components of San Diego.

Greater than 1,300 human trafficking circumstances have been reported in 2020 in California, greater than another state, in line with the Nationwide Human Trafficking Hotline.

Based on the California Lawyer Normal’s Workplace assertion human trafficking is prevalent within the hospitality, business intercourse, home work and development industries. Victims are additionally discovered amongst migrant and seasonal agricultural staff, suppliers of residential care and in California’s garment sector.


Metropolis Information Service

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San Diego, CA

San Diego police shooting reported in City Heights

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Authorities have been investigating a police capturing in Metropolis Heights on Thursday afternoon, San Diego police mentioned.

The capturing occurred round 1 p.m. on forty second Avenue close to College Avenue, police mentioned.

It was not instantly clear whether or not anybody was injured within the capturing.


Sheriff’s detectives have been referred to as to the scene to research the capturing in accordance with a countywide coverage that ensures legislation enforcement companies don’t examine shootings by their very own officers or deputies.

No additional data was instantly obtainable.

It is a breaking information story and it will likely be up to date as quickly as extra data is revealed.

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