A virtual Town Hall meeting hosted by OVA May 5 provided details about Sonoma County Health Department’s plans to open by year’s end a 16-bed psychiatric facility at the Los Guilicos site across from Oakmont. Under discussion since 2012, the Sonoma Health Healing Center would serve 60 Medi-Cal patients a month with a mental health diagnosis.
Bill Carter, director of the County’s Behavioral Health Department, said a contract is being finalized with Crestwood Behavioral Health which would operate the center after renovating the long vacant Children’s Receiving Home.
Dr. Patty Blum, Executive Vice President at Crestwood, said the focus will be on stabilizing and helping individuals with mental issues gain self-reliance, independence and integrate back into the community. The average patient stay is 9 days.
“There is no danger to the community based on the people we serve,” she told the attendees. A guard will be present to monitor the building from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Described as a home-like therapeutic environment, the facility will operate as a crisis stabilization unit where residents are on an involuntary hold. No drug or alcohol abuse services will be provided. Crestwood expects to hire 35 to 40 people at the Sonoma County location which will be staffed by psychiatrists seven days a week, two nurses on three shifts, case managers and recovery coaches. Crestwood, which operates facilities across California, currently employs 3,200.
“We serve the most marginalized Medicaid eligible population and the most forgotten,” Dr. Blum said. “We see our target audience not only as those with significant mental health issues but also their families and their neighbors.”