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Oceanside medical center to get new psychiatric health facility

Posted at 2:34 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 17:34:50-05

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — San Diego's Board of Supervisors voted to enter into an agreement with Tri-City Healthcare District to build a new psychiatric health facility in Oceanside.

The county will contribute $17.4 million to build a 16-bed facility on a piece of vacant land at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. Tri-City will operate the facility, but the county will lease the property, build the facility, and sublease the building to Tri-City.

Tri-City Healthcare District closed its Behavioral Health Unit in 2018 over changes in federal regulations. Regulations required the hospital to remove all "ligature" risks from rooms, or features of rooms that patients could use to hand themselves. The hospital's "drop" ceilings also did not meet regulations. Replacing the ceilings alone would cost $3 million.

The hospital's behavioral health unit provides adult inpatient psychiatric services. The departure of those services have made filling emergency behavioral needs in North County increasingly challenging. Patients had to instead be taken to Palomar Hospital in Escondido or San Diego County Mental Health off of Rosecrans Street.

Not only did it make emergency situations a longer drive for patients, but officers would be removed from their jurisdictions for 5 to 6 hours.

“Getting Tri-City Health into the behavioral health business has been a top priority,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond, whose district includes the hospital. “The biggest winners are the residents of San Diego County, residents and families who count on and rely on the needed behavioral health services.”

The facility could take up to three years to open.