Morning Report: CARE Court May Check Already Clogged Behavioral Health System

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San Diego’s behavioral health system was overwhelmed before the pandemic and has gotten worse during the pandemic.

Next year, the state’s new CARE Court mandate will put more pressure on a system that has long struggled with a shortage of long-term care options that has caused long waits for hospital beds and delays for others seeking care.

Our Lisa Halverstadt obtained county data showing that the number of days adult Medi-Cal behavioral health patients have spent waiting for post-hospital care has increased since the pandemic began.

Over the past decade, the county has also lost hundreds of so-called board and care beds, long considered key housing options for behavioral patients.

County officials, who have increased their investment in crisis services in the past few years, are now committing to ramping up additional resources and are expected to be critical options for CARE Court participants and other patients.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who pushed CARE’s controversial judicial reforms, noted that the state is offering unprecedented funding to help counties build behavioral health resources to better meet needs.

District officials are set to conduct their own analysis of the required behavioral beds at a Board of Supervisors meeting next Tuesday, and they plan to unveil their strategy for implementing them next month.

Read the full story here.

  • inewsource this week producing a series of stories on the county care system for people with severe mental illness. Her main finding: While state and local officials see conservatorships as a potential solution to homelessness among people with serious mental illness, the existing system already suffering from problems.

Northern District Report: About These Railroads

A cruise ship in San Diego at Del Mar on September 19, 2022 / Photo by Arianna Drechsler

A plan to move the Del Mar railroad tracks from the fragile Del Mar Cliffs to an underground tunnel is moving forward, a move regional planners say is critical as the cliffs continue to erode.

Almost 2 miles of the busy LOSSAN Rail Corridor runs along the Del Mar Cliffs, which have suffered over the years from rising sea levels, erosion and increasingly heavy rainstorms.

SANDAG recently received a $300 million state grant for the project, which could cost up to $3 billion and won’t be completed until 2035, the agency estimates.

Del Mar officials can’t wait for the move, as they say years of bluff stabilization efforts, including the construction of levees, have increasingly limited access to Del Mar’s beaches. The relocation would also greatly reduce the threat of cliff collapse to beachgoers.

The project is part of the $160 billion SANDAG regional transportation plan.

Read the Northern District report here.

In other news

  • The Union-Tribune reports that a Superior Court judge on Wednesday issued a preliminary decision suggesting that the court cannot “overrule” the City Council’s 2016 decision to purchase the scandal-plagued (and city-owned) 101 Ash Street. Need a refresher on the various 101 Ash lawsuits? Check out ours primer.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that new infrastructure policy changes approved by the City Council earlier this week will help accelerate projects by limiting City Council oversight of these projects.
  • The city council this week too signed of a 3 percent increase in water rates, CBS 8 reported.
  • Repairs to the city-owned Hodges Reservoir’s 104-year-old dam will take longer than expectedthe Associated Press reports.
  • KPBS reported that El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and county officials continuing to fight for the county’s voucher program which allowed homeless residents to stay in El Cajon hotels. Meanwhile, according to the Union-Tribune, El Cajon officials agreed not to fine hotel owners who agree to stop accepting new voucher holders before a meeting on Friday to discuss next steps.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the state Supreme Court waved off the request Coronado, Solana Beach and other San Diego cities opposing affordable housing zoning mandates set by the San Diego Association of Governments.
  • A USA Today investigation shows the District Attorney’s office accused 11 antifa activists after they battled white supremacists and proud boys in Pacific Beach last year. Far-right activists were not charged, despite video footage of the incident.

The morning report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Tigist Lane. It was edited by Andrea López-Villafaña.

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