More patients grappling with mental-health crises are seeking help in local hospitals and then confronting long, often costly waits for post-hospital care and housing.
Our Lisa Halverstadt has spent weeks digging into San Diego County’s mental-health system. Her latest reporting reveals that a countywide shortage of longer-term care options for psychiatric patients has led to a surge in the number of days patients are spending waiting for care.
At the same time, county data reveals the number of adult behavioral health patients with Medi-Cal insurance or without insurance being discharged from local hospitals has spiked nearly 60 percent over the last decade, putting more pressure on the region’s mental-health system.
County behavioral health officials, county supervisors and advocates agree that more post-hospital options are needed to stem those waits and the county has funded dozens of new beds for patients who need weeks or months of additional care.
Yet the long waits and confusion around exactly what options are available to patients leaving San Diego hospitals remain. Halverstadt explains the various types of post-hospital care and housing patients are seeking and both regional and statewide conversations about how to address gaps.
Governor Signs Major Police Use of Deadly Force Bill
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s blockbuster legislation overhauling standards for police use of force.
Weber’s AB 392 will only allow officers to use force when it’s necessary to defend themselves against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to officers or bystanders.
Our Sara Libby has written extensively about AB 392 and the significant change it will make in how officer-involved shootings are evaluated.
The bill’s path to the governor’s desk wasn’t without twists and turns. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins put a previous version of the bill on a two-year track last year after an avalanche of opposition from law enforcement groups. Weber introduced an amended version of the bill this year and law enforcement groups agreed to stand down.
At a Monday signing ceremony also attended by families who have lost loved ones in police shootings, Weber told reporters she wasn’t certain former Gov. Jerry Brown would have signed the bill.
“I can only imagine the battle I would be having with the governor’s office right now,” she said.
New Lawsuit Alleges More Medical Neglect at ICE Detention Centers
A class-action lawsuit from civil rights and immigration groups representing immigrant detainees in six states alleges systematic inadequate or non-existent medical care in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities – including the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego – building on a long history of similar allegations, reports VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan.
Last week, Srikrishnan published a story documenting medical complaints and cases of inadequate medical care at Otay Mesa. One man suffering from severe headaches and other lingering effects of a gunshot wound was reportedly given ibuprofen to deal with sporadic bleeding from his ears and eyes. Another man who is HIV-positive waited 25 days to be given his medication. Then, the medication he received was inappropriate, according to one doctor.
The new lawsuit details even more allegations of medical neglect in the facility. One asylum seeker detained at Otay Mesa was repeatedly denied treatment for severe back pain, according to the complaint. Facility guards forced her to walk without a mobility aid despite her repeated complaints. She fell, further injuring herself, and now must use a wheelchair.
Another man with a torn rotator cuff never had his medical records transferred when he transferred facilities. He is currently at his third detention facility waiting for a surgery that was recommended for a third time to him after a third MRI, since each facility insisted on re-evaluating him each time he was transferred.
The Insurance Industry Takes on Paradise
The Camp Fire destroyed about 90 percent of the homes in Paradise, California last year, and the town is now missing about 90 percent of its population from before the fire.
But among the list of issues keeping residents from returning, insurance has emerged as a central concern.
Ry Rivard, in his biweekly Environment Report, outlines some of the issues facing would-be Paradise homeowners, where some insurers are now selectively providing coverage. It’s the latest in his series on the opaque ways the insurance industry deals with fire risk across the state.
In Other News
- The city has selected the group that owns the San Diego Gulls minor league hockey team to run the Sports Arena, replacing its longtime manager. (Union-Tribune)
- The state Coastal Commission isn’t keen on an idea to place railroad tracks on a trench at the edge of the bluffs in Del Mar. (Los Angeles Times)
- The water agency serving about 190,000 South Bay customers has decided to require the agency to keep audio recordings of board meetings after axing a requirement to keep minutes of committee hearings. (Union-Tribune)
- Carlsbad has launched a new program to shuttle Coaster riders to their Carlsbad workplaces. (NBC 7)
- A new report forecasts apartment owners will be able to continue increasing rents on San Diego residents who, despite low mortgage rates, still won’t be able to buy a home and so will have no option but to pay higher rents. (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego’s Chaldean community, the second largest in the U.S., is reeling after a Chaldean man deported to Iraq following a 2017 agreement between the two countries died shortly after his deportation. (KPBS)
- Immigration officials are rejecting first-time requests for high-skilled worker visas four times more often than just a few years ago, and San Diego-based Qualcomm is among the top users of such visas in all of California. (Union-Tribune)
- A man using a walker to cross El Cajon Boulevard in a crosswalk was killed by an unintoxicated person driving a car late Sunday night. (10 News)
- The California Supreme Court ruled that San Diego did not properly scrutinize the potential environmental impacts of its 2014 medical marijuana ordinance, which capped the number of dispensaries. A group of patients argued that fewer dispensaries could increase traffic or encourage more people to grow weed at home. (The Law)
- San Diego State officials say they banned scooters on campus this spring. They just publicized that ban Monday. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Maya Srikrishnan, and edited by Andrew Keatts.