From Contra Costa Health:
Contra Costa Health (CCH) will build a new mental health rehabilitation center and fill a critical gap in county mental health services, thanks to an $18.6 million grant from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
The facility, planned for a county-owned property at 847 Brookside Drive in Richmond, will serve patients experiencing serious mental illness who need 24-hour residential care, but don’t need hospitalization. Residents who need that level of care must now travel out of the community – sometimes across the state – to find it.
“Right now, there is a tremendous burden on our patients and families, who must uproot their lives and relocate to wherever beds are available, during a time that is already extremely difficult for them,” said John Gioia, chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, whose district includes the future site. “This facility will help us to keep our residents in our community, where they are best served.”
The center is planned as a locked facility with 44 beds providing 24-hour, sub-acute care, a high level of care that is less intensive and longer term than acute care, which patients receive when hospitalized.
No facilities currently provide this service in Contra Costa County, CCH Behavioral Health Director Suzanne Tavano said, meaning that when a patient is ready to step down from hospital care but still needs 24-hour service in a locked facility, they are transferred to neighboring counties or farther.
“Our goal is to bring Contra Costa residents back home,” Tavano said. “People who need this level of care are receiving it in facilities located in the greater Bay Area and Central Valley. For at least 20 years, we’ve been working toward opening our own facility in Contra Costa, for Contra Costa residents.”
The opportunity arrived this month, when DHCS selected Contra Costa’s proposal for an $18.6 million grant through its Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP).
Voices from Contra Costa’s mental health advocacy community played a pivotal role in making the project a state funding priority. Currently more than 100 patients from Contra Costa County are receiving sub-acute care at facilities elsewhere in California.
“A healthcare system that includes a tiered array of Housing That Heals as part of a full continuum of medically necessary care will help mend our broken hearts and bend the harm curve for families like ours,” said Lauren Rettagliata and Teresa Pasquini, community advocates.
Pasquini and Rettagliata co-authored a 2020 report, Housing That Heals: A Search for a Place Like Home for Families Like Ours, that documents gaps in appropriate residential care for people who have mental illness, both in Contra Costa and statewide, and their own experiences advocating for family members who need care.
The state grant will cover construction costs for the CCH-operated facility. A timeline for the project has not yet been established.