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Major Upgrades Announced for Alvarado Hospital

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Ben Macapugay
Major Upgrades Announced for Alvarado Hospital

On the morning of August 30, 2022, the Director of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency formally requested, of the County Board of Supervisors, that Alvarado Hospital be the site of a new county behavioral health “hub,” with additional facilities planned to be built and operational on the hospital campus by early 2024. The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor; and the new behavioral health facilities “hub” will be run in partnership between Alvarado Hospital, UC San Diego Health, and the County of San Diego. The Alvarado behavioral health hub will consist of a two new inpatient behavioral health LPS units (62 beds in total), a crisis stabilization unit (CSU), and an emergency psychiatric unit. “We are experiencing a behavioral health crisis in San Diego. Both the state of California, and our San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, have committed a tremendous amount of resources and thoughtful planning into strengthening our behavioral health safety-net, and we are proud to be a part of that effort,” says Alvarado Hospital CEO Kenneth McFarland. “By answering this need for our county, we are reinforcing our commitment to being a true community hospital.” The second and fourth floors in the hospital’s West Tower will be used to house a new 62-bed LPS behavioral health unit. The hospital’s old emergency department will be the location of a new Crisis Stabilization & Emergency Psychiatric Unit. This new construction will be in addition to the existing 30-bed geriatric behavioral health unit located on the third floor of the West Tower.

The “hub” concept involves placing multiple layers of behavioral health treatment services at a single location, as is the case for our plans for the Alvarado hub. The various treatment services work collaboratively with each other, as well as with other community-based behavioral health resources, to treat and care for our behavioral health patients along a continuum of care, with the goal of eventually returning them home. The hubs are also designed to relieve the strain on local emergency rooms and hospitals, where behavioral health patients are often treated. “We are seeing more and more behavioral health patients with higher levels of acuity,” explains McFarland. “These patients require a specific form of care; consequently, when you have a rush of these patients into a general-care facility, it can create a volatile mix that may contribute to poor outcomes (and perception) from delays in delivering needed care to mis-diagnoses and treatments. The behavioral health hub is a thoughtful way to treat a vulnerable, and oftentimes marginalized, patient population. The hub represents a more dignified and compassionate approach in restoring one’s health and wellness.”