A new joint venture between Arcadia Health and Scripps Health to open an inpatient Behavioral Mental Health Hospital in Eastlake was approved on Nov.10 by the Chula Vista Planning Commission.
A total of 120 patient beds for acute care and behavioral mental health services are written into the plan. Located in the commercial district of Eastlake, the 10.5 acre site will allow for the hospital to be constructed as a one-story facility.
The hospital's structure will allow for current practices of behavioral health facilities in order to meet patient and operational needs.Treatment to adults, adolescents and senior populations in the facility will be treated independently.
“The Eastlake hospital will contribute greatly to the well-being of Chula Vista and South County,” said Tom Gammiere, regional chief executive of Scripps Health southern region. “These additional 120 beds will help us get closer to meeting our community’s overwhelming need for behavioral health care.”
Arcadia Health was selected by Scripps Health as it’s joint venture because of their leading national efforts in mental health care. Scripps currently has 36 beds for behavioral health patients at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego. A specialty unit to focus on behavioral health treatment that focuses on the needs of active-duty military and veterans.
According to Gammire, the mental health need in the San Diego region is significantly greater.
The California Hospital association reports that 1 in 4 adults have a behavioral health care need. On a local level that will mean nearly 90 thousand people in the south county are in need of behavioral health care.
“This project will expand mental health care in a time where there is an overwhelming need for these services,” Gammire said. “Behavioral health is one of the most significantly underfunded and under addressed issues in California and certainly in our local communities.”
The Center for Disease and Control reports that 1 in 11 youth have attempted suicide in the past year. According to Gammire, if these numbers were applied to the Sweetewater Union High School District, then more than 3,800 students have attempted suicide in the past year alone.
Over 50 people attended the public hearing on this item. Those in opposition primarily voiced concerns on community safety and the lack of infrastructural support to maintain the facility.
For the past 23 years, Rebecca Edward worked as a paramedic for the City of San Diego. Her last day on the field was a few weeks ago after being kicked by an individual who fled into the freeway alongside at least 10 highway patrol officers. She was pregnant at the time.
“We respond to these calls all the time and we are transferring these patients out. We already have a system that is imploding,”Edward said. “Chula Vista is begging paramedics to come and work with our system. We don't have the support to take care of these patients.”
Those in support urged the board to take the mental health needs of the community into consideration.
“I know there's been fears and concerns by citizens but the fact is you only have to turn on the news to see what's going on in the world and how bad it’s gotten. If you look in the streets, you can see a need for people who are in need of mental health care who are living and staying on the streets. We would like to see the health care that they need,” South Bay resident Hallie Preston said.
The hospital is slated to open in 2025. The creation of 150 permanent jobs in Chula Vista is anticipated.