CHA News Article

New Plan Would Ease ED Overcrowding, Improve Mental Health Access
CHA supports proposal from State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg

State Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg today unveiled a proposal to help close gaps in crisis mental health treatment and reduce overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms, as well as in prisons and jails. Steinberg’s plan includes funding for at least 2,000 crisis treatment beds in residential settings, at least 200 mental health triage personnel and 25 Mobile Crisis Support Teams to provide rapid response to people who need mental health evaluations. These teams will help reduce the impact on hospitals, clinics, jails and shelters. Other specifics include establishing Medi-Cal enrollment assistance and outreach for people with behavioral health needs and expanding a pilot program — Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees — from 1,500 to 5,000 parolees.

“The recent case of a mental health patient being dumped in Sacramento from Nevada highlighted the lack of crisis care available,” Steinberg said in a press conference today. “We need better access to crisis beds and crisis treatment so that, when someone has a psychotic episode, there’s a place to take them that isn’t a jail or an emergency room.”

Among those participating in the press conference was Carole Mennell, an ER nurse at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Sacramento County. Mennell, who serves as the chair of the Emergency Services Task Force for the Sacramento-Sierra Section of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, expressed the hospital community’s support for the proposal, emphasizing the impact that the current lack of mental health resources is having both on hospital emergency departments and patients who need mental health services.

For more information about the proposal, see today’s press release or the attached Call to Action.