Orange County is taking another big step forward with plans to build its own mental health and psychiatric emergency center that will transform the mental health services delivery system for Orange County residents.
On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved an $18 million proposal for the OC Wellness Hub, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that will provide mental health treatment to all residents of Orange County.
“Orange County is putting patients first,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, who has led efforts to expand and improve mental health care in Orange County. “This facility will provide all residents with access to the mental health care they need.”
The $18 million in Mental Health Services Act dollars will increase crisis services and substance use disorder services, access to under-served communities, improving system navigation to the appropriate level of care; and leveraging technology and partner collaborations among behavioral health service providers. The OC Wellness Hub will also address the challenge of accessing services due to payer source by accepting all types of insurance.
“We are transforming the way patients in Orange County access mental health care,” said Supervisor Do.
“We are very grateful to the OC Board of Supervisors for their commitment to the mental health of all residents in our community, and for their bold leadership in transforming a system of care and support. When funded, these innovative programs will vastly improve access and quality of care to those most vulnerable in our community,” says Richard Afable MD, President of MindOC, the community benefit organization supporting BeWellOC.
Public-Private Partnership Addresses Mental Health Access
In March 2018, the County of Orange spent $7.8 million to purchase a former school building located at 265 Anita Street in Orange and an additional $16.6 million for construction costs — with a plan to build a state-of-the-art mental health facility focused on access to mental, behavioral health, and substance abuse services.
To get the project off the ground, Orange County is collaborating with CalOptima, the county’s health insurance plan for seniors, people living with disabilities, and low-income residents; and Be Well OC, an alliance of public, private, academic and faith based leaders including local hospital systems such a Kaiser Permanente and St. Joseph Hoag Health.
Once completed, the facility will be managed by Be Well OC and provide critical services based on clinical need, including:
- Crisis Stabilization Unit
- Substance Use Disorder Intake and Referral
- Withdrawal Management
- Crisis Residential services for substance use disorder
- Residential treatment for patients with multiple diagnoses
With the $18 million budget allocation, County Supervisors established project guidelines to ensure patient access to care and the best value for taxpayers. The county’s plan will provide cross-system peer and fiscal navigation with 24/7 on-site support to help patients navigate care decisions and payment resources. It has also developed a network of providers to assist communities facing barriers to access, such as veterans, people living with disabilities, immigrants, and LGBTQ.
“This plan will make it possible to deliver on our promise to provide every patient with the treatment they need,” said Do.