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Chair Nathan Fletcher, and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today approved a new plan to develop a Central Region Behavioral Health Hub at Alvarado Hospital. It will create 44 new acute inpatient beds along with a built-in Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), Emergency Psychiatric Unit (EPU), and additional services to meet the mental health and addiction treatment needs of San Diegans.     

The Alvarado Hospital agreement is supported by Chair Fletcher because it will allow the County to move quickly to stand up the new facility, and it will be more cost-effective for taxpayers. Alvarado Hospital will be the licensed operator, the County will serve as the health plan, and UC San Diego Health will provide medical oversight. The new Behavioral Health Hub is projected to open by the end of 2023.

“This agreement will allow us to bring online the services we envisioned for the Central Regional Behavioral Health Hub much faster,” said Chair Fletcher. “It also gives us the ability to create greater capacity across the entire system because it frees up our resources and allows us to provide more post-acute and long-term care services throughout the region.”   

This new approach demonstrated a nimbleness not often seen at the government level; it is a pivot from the original plan Chair Fletcher introduced in 2019 to turn a dialpidated parcel the County-owned on 3rd Avenue in Hillcrest into a Behavioral Health Hub. Now, Chair Fletcher and County staff are planning to use the 3rd Avenue site to provide long-term care services.     

“It is important for us to always look for a better way to provide services,” said Chair Fletcher. Using  the 3rd Avenue location to service the long-term care needs of people, we are going to help fill a major gap in the system that exists right now.” 

Next month, the County’s Behavioral Health Department will release new data on bed capacity in the San Diego County region, and that data will help drive decision-making on the right mix of services for the 3rd Avenue property in Hillcrest.

The original plan for the Hub in Hillcrest was expected to cost upwards of $400 million, but the new approach is estimated to cost $130 million, and include multiple locations.

To learn more about the Alvarado Hospital Agreement, click here