Welcome to the New Department of State Hospitals!
On December 7, 2011, the California Department of Mental Health announced the blueprint to establish the new Department of State Hospitals and reforms to the Department of Mental Health structure designed to improve the mental hospital system in California.
“We are making the changes that are long overdue,” said DSH Interim Director, Cliff Allenby. “Earlier this year, we brought in a team of experts who worked closely with administrative, clinical, and operations staff to develop an action plan to enhance care, increase safety measures, and improve the fiscal management of our state mental hospitals.”
“We remain committed to providing appropriate treatment for patients in a safe environment and in a fiscally responsible manner,” added DSH Chief Deputy Director, Kathy Gaither. “Throughout the year, we listened to employees, management, mental health advocates and experts to get their recommendations which are reflected in the plan unveiled today.”
As the new Department moves forward, new policies and investments are underway to increase safety, treatment and responsibility. These investments include the installation of enhanced alarm systems at Napa State Hospital to be followed by new systems at Metropolitan State Hospital, Patton State Hospital Coalinga State Hospital and Department of State Hospitals - Atascadero.
Additional safety and treatment measures include the development of specialized treatment units to provide enhanced safety and treatment in specialized, secure units within Atascadero and Coalinga State Hospitals. The goal is to reduce patient acuity and aggression and provide a model of care that can be replicated in other facilities. The future opening of the Stockton Psychiatric Program at the California Health Care Facility will bring an additional 722 employees to the Department and 475 treatment beds for mental health patients.
The blueprint plan also calls for streamlining administrative policies, procedures and reporting by staff to increase focus on the provision of care while maintaining full compliance with federal standards.
Inflexible system-wide rules regulating how care is provided in hospitals will be replaced with treatment decisions made by individual units based on patient needs.
Using best practices from hospital administrators and clinicians, the Department is setting system-wide standards for purchasing, information technology, fiscal management, and contracting to ensure state dollars are used efficiently and effectively. Department leadership is working with state partners from California’s Correctional Health Services and the private sector to adopt better business practices. Staff and leadership at each hospital are also recommending creative solutions to provide quality services in an efficient and effective manner.
Moving forward in the weeks and months ahead, the Department will be finalizing its mission and vision and will be developing comprehensive short and long term strategic plans to fulfill those goals. The Department is dedicated to developing and implementing cohesive working relationships with all stakeholders committed to providing quality mental health treatment to all patients under our care.
This is an exciting time for the Department and we welcome you to visit our site often to see the changes and improvements as they happen.