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UC San Diego Health & Scripps Health Partner for Supervisor Fletcher's Regional Behavioral Health Hub


Supervisor Nathan Fletcher today announced the dilapidated County property at 4307 Third Avenue in Hillcrest has been deemed appropriate to build his vision for a Central Region Behavioral Health Hub and that UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health are working on a partnership agreement with the County of San Diego to jointly invest and provides services at the site.  

“With bold thinking, a willingness to approach this work differently, we are striving to make progress through partnership, and taking action to fix our broken behavioral health system,” said Supervisor Fletcher. “Bringing UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health to work in partnership at our new flagship behavioral health hub will be unprecedented.” 

The Hub concept first introduced in March will now become the cornerstone of a new regional behavioral health system and connect seamlessly to other services in the community. It will provide an integrated care environment that accelerates patients from the constant cycle of behavioral health crisis to a life of continuous chronic care management and improved outcomes. 

“The commitment of significant resources by the County to move forward with the hub model not just in the central region, but in other parts of the county is substantive progress in just seven months,” Supervisor Fletcher continued. “This is a vital step toward having a region with a stronger, more integrated behavioral health continuum of care that serves the most vulnerable people.”

That sentiment was echoed by the representatives of both healthcare systems during today’s press conference at the 7.24-acres site of the future Hub. The site was once being considered for luxury apartments but is ideally located on a bluff in a remote area of the Hillcrest neighborhood, between the UC San Diego Medical Center and Scripps Mercy Hospital. 

UC San Diego Health and their CEO Patty Maysent over the past year has been working with the County on transitioning the operations of the County Psychiatric Hospital, and bring it under their license -- an opportunity that would unlock up to $20 million in new federal Medicaid dollars that can be reinvested in our local behavioral health system. They were an early adopter of Supervisor Fletcher's vision for the Hub. 

“UC San Diego and County leadership have been working hard for more than a year to understand the licensing, structural, financial, operational and legal implications of developing a formal collaboration which includes the County Psychiatric Hospital and the 3rd Avenue development that Supervisor Fletcher has proposed,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “While complicated, we welcome the opportunity to bring Scripps Health into the discussion. My belief has always been that if we all work together and keep focused on the needs of our patients, we can develop something extraordinary for our region.”

Supervisor Fletcher is pleased to welcome Scripps Health to this collaborative. Scripps is currently proposing to bring in more capacity in South County but San Diego is still in need of additional inpatient beds and other services for this vulnerable population. Collaborations such as the one being announced today is a step in the right direction toward doing what’s best for the community and patients.

“Scripps Health is encouraged to have been invited to join this very important conversation to help create the Third Avenue Behavioral Health Hub,” said Tom Gammiere, corporate senior vice president and regional chief executive of Scripps Health. “This is a unique opportunity for us to work with the county and UC San Diego Health to plan a regional solution that could help fill gaps for vulnerable San Diegans who need access to more behavioral health services and better coordinate care.”

San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward who was also in attendance today brought the Hillcrest property to Supervisor Fletcher’s attention last year, and has stood in support of his efforts to transform it. Both are members of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and have optimism that this venture will have a significant impact on reducing chronic homeless that are seriously mental ill.   

“This partnership represents a real opportunity to fill a service gap in our continuum of care and provide desperately need behavioral health resources to San Diegans that need our help”

The Hub

The Central Regional Hub will be the flagship site for the county. A one stop shop that connects individuals to step down services and a care coordinator, and a long-term care plan that will set them on a path to stability, and healing. The core components as outlined in a board action that will be considered by the Board for the behavioral health hubs are:

  • Co-location and affiliation with general acute care hospital, facilitating transitions for patients that arrive in nearby emergency room more convenient
  • In patients acute beds -- (Supervisor Fletcher wants to see at least 60, but the vision is to reduce the reliance on inpatient acute beds. Exact number of beds will be determined down the road) 
  • Crisis Stabilization 
  • Step Down/Recuperative Care Beds
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Link to long-term, cross sector Care Coordination
  • Warm Hand off to community services and housing in the area
  • Shared data across service providers and network of hubs

Agreements with the hospital partners is integral to this new venture.  Arriving at an agreement with UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health to jointly operate and provide services at the hub as well as interim services at the San Diego Psychological Hospital will unlock new dollars to help fund the estimated $115 million to build the facility and create the potential to establish a new pipeline of behavioral health

Supervisor Fletcher would like a final agreement between the County, UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health by January of next year.