Crisis Stabilization Unit to open 50 feet from hospital ER, serve mentally ill patients
A Crisis Stabilization Unit, a new facility that’s expected to take pressure off local hospital’s emergency room, is slated to open its doors next year, officials said.
The facility, called a CSU, is the answer to a shortage of psychiatric beds across the state. Located 50 feet from the front door of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s ER, the unit will temporarily house people with mental issues who otherwise would have sat in the emergency room.
“We’ve got ill people that we need to find help for and we can’t find them help,” said Rebecca Slade, Nevada County’s interim director of behavioral health. “The ERs are really in a tough spot.”
The 2,160-square-foot Crisis Stabilization Unit is meant for patients who won’t hurt others or themselves and who won’t flee the facility. It connects patients with psychiatrists, therapists and nurses who stabilize them and get them the appropriate medication. It can serve four patients at a time, Slade said.
Those same patients currently can stay in an emergency room for days while officials search for a psychiatric bed, she added.
“It is critically important to provide these patients with the right support at the right time,” said Dr. Brian Evans, vice president of medical affairs at Sierra Nevada, in an email. “Too often, patients with mental health problems are unable to access the care that they need, and this creates unnecessary problems for themselves, their families and our community.”
A majority of the funds for the Crisis Stabilization Unit — $500,000 — comes from a state grant for crisis facilities. The remaining $23,987 comes from the county’s Behavioral Health Department, officials said.
The state funds are granted through Senate Bill 82 — the Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act of 2013.
The funds will pay for the unit’s construction, as well as its furniture, equipment, electrical work and plumbing. The hospital will provide operational funds for the psychiatric beds, and the Crisis Stabilization Unit also will receive payments from MediCal, Slade said.
“We really believe this is better for clients,” she added.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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