More beds could make a dif­fer­ence

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Abit of good news was re­ported in the Fri­day edi­tion of the An­te­lope Val­ley Press. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port, the Los Angeles County Board of Su­per­vi­sors, on Tues­day, unan­i­mously ap­proved a mo­tion by Su­per­vi­sor Kathryn Barger, to im­prove ac­cess to men­tal health treat­ment in Los Angeles County, by adopt­ing a two-year pi­lot pro­gram to pro­cure up to 500 beds for those in need of care.

While much fo­cus is put on home­less­ness, it seems that not so much is put on men­tal ill­ness, un­less it re­sults in a per­son be­com­ing home­less. So the fact that Barger is push­ing for­ward with this mo­tion, is huge.

What will it mean, ex­actly? For starters, the county will be able to in­crease the num­ber of treat­ment beds avail­able to those in need.

It also means a higher qual­ity of care will de avail­able be­cause those who need post-hos­pi­tal treat­ment will no longer have to linger in hos­pi­tals due to a lack of op­tions.

The pro­gram will also cre­ate a co­or­di­nated, con­nected and in­te­grated net­work across all hos­pi­tals, whether they’re county hos­pi­tals or pri­vate hos­pi­tals.

“Ac­cord­ing to re­cent analy­ses ref­er­enced in the Depart­ment of Men­tal Health re­port, LA County may need up to 3,000 ad­di­tional sub-acute, or longer-term men­tal health treat­ment beds,” ac­cord­ing to the AV Press re­port. “In­di­vid­u­als of­ten wait in hos­pi­tals for months for sub-acute care. Wait times for state hos­pi­tal care are of­ten a year or more.”

The mo­tion di­rects the Board to adopt an Oct. 29 re­port and ap­prove the “Rec­om­men­da­tion Ac­tions for the Board of Su­per­vi­sors,” in­clud­ing a two-year pi­lot pro­gram to pro­cure up to 500 men­tal health treat­ment beds.

“These ad­di­tional beds will de­crease wait lists for post-hos­pi­tal care, free up hos­pi­tal beds for more in­di­vid­u­als who need them and re­duce the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness on the county’s streets and in its jails,” the re­port said.

It’s good to know that some­one is look­ing out for the men­tally ill and not just let­ting them wan­der the streets, when there is nowhere else to go. Hope­fully this pi­lot pro­gram will work the way the Board of Su­per­vi­sors en­vi­sions it will. The re­sult should be men­tally ill peo­ple who have some­where to go for help. As stated in the re­port, once they have re­ceived help in a hos­pi­tal, there are few al­ter­na­tives for them.

Barger and the Board of Su­per­vi­sors has shown great in­ter­est in help­ing the home­less. Now she’s come up with a way to help the men­tally ill, as well.

We hope that her plans are suc­cess­ful, as they will ben­e­fit many in Los Angeles County and the An­te­lope Val­ley.

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