Enhanced Treatment Program

The Enhanced Treatment Program (ETP) is a 4-year pilot program aimed at treating patients who are at the highest risk of committing violence and who are able to benefit from a concentrated, evidence-based clinical therapy, structured milieu and/or treatment with the goal of reducing the risk of violent behavior.

The ETP is used when safe treatment of a patient is not possible in a standard treatment environment. The pilot program consists of three units of 13 beds each for male patients at DSH-Atascadero and one unit of 10 beds for female patients at DSH-Patton.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Enhanced Treatment Program?

    The ETP is a hospital-based environment of increased security for patients who are at the highest risk of committing violence and who cannot be safely treated in a standard treatment environment. The ETP provides treatment intended to return the patient to a standard treatment environment with supports that prevent future aggression while increasing safety in the hospital and protecting patients and staff from harm. The ETP provides enhanced treatment, staffing, security and implements an admissions and treatment planning process that identifies and addresses the patients’ violence risk factors.

  2. Who is eligible for the Enhanced Treatment Program?

    The ETP is for patients who are at the highest risk of committing violence. In 2019, only 1.3 percent of patients at DSH were responsible for 41.5 percent of all aggressive acts.

  3. Where is the Enhanced Treatment Program being used?

    The ETP has been established in one 13-bed unit at Atascadero State Hospital. Two more 13-bed units are planned for Atascadero State Hospital and one 10-bed unit - for females only - is planned for Patton State Hospital. All DSH hospitals will be able to refer patients to these ETP units.

  4. When did the Enhanced Treatment Program begin?

    The first ETP unit at Atascadero State Hospital will begin treating patients in September 2021. Construction of the remaining units is scheduled to begin later this year.

  5. What type of treatment do patients receive in the Enhanced Treatment Program?

    Every patient in the ETP receives treatment from a multi-disciplinary team comprised of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a registered nurse, a clinical social worker, a rehabilitation therapist and a psychiatric technician. The ETP provides a highly individualized treatment program that targets a patient’s risk factors for aggression and accounts for the patient’s individual differences, whether they are cognitive, cultural, or medical.

  6. How long will patients remain in the Enhanced Treatment Program?

    The length of time that a patient stays in the ETP depends upon many factors including the patient’s participation in treatment, commitment to remaining safe and their use of the skills learned during their stay. A patient is initially certified for 90 days of treatment in the ETP. The treatment team will review the patient’s progress each week and continually evaluate the patient’s readiness to return to a standard treatment unit. Prior to expiration of 90 days from the date of placement in the ETP, the patient will be evaluated. If the patient continues to require ETP placement, the patient shall be certified for further ETP placement for one year. A longer stay beyond the additional year will require the evaluation and recommendation of an independent forensic psychiatrist or psychologist.

  7. How was the Enhanced Treatment Program established?

    In 2014, Assembly Bill 1340 authorized the establishment of a pilot Enhanced Treatment Program. The Budget Act of 2017 provided funding and positions to operate two 13-bed units at Atascadero State Hospital. The Budget Act of 2018 provided funding for one additional 13-bed unit at Atascadero State Hospital and a 10-bed unit at Patton State Hospital.



The ETP offers opportunities for the following professionals: Registered Nurse, Psychiatric Technician, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Rehabilitation Therapist, Social Worker. The Enhanced Treatment Program is recruiting Psychiatric Technicians, Nurses, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Rehabilitation Therapists. The Department of State Hospitals invites you to join our team of dedicated and talented professionals by applying here: Careers at DSH.