County approves partnership with UCSD Health for new behavioral health hub

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to partner with UC San Diego Health to build the Central Region Behavioral Health Hub in Hillcrest. The 60-bed health hub is expected to be the cornerstone of a new behavioral health system in the region, focused on integrated services and care.


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The new hub is estimated to cost about $115 million and aims to be a “one stop shop” to connect individuals with services, a care coordinator, and a long-term care plan. Services may include crisis stabilization, inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient, and other programs.

“This agreement sets the foundation to make an incredible impact on our region—both in our regional behavioral health hub but also in creating an entity and framework for true person-centered care coordination,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher in a prepared statement. “UC San Diego has been an amazing partner and I commend them for their commitment to patients, collaborative spirit, creativity and dedication to doing what is right for San Diego. The MOU brought forward today will be foundational in providing mental health and substance abuse care throughout our region for decades to come.”

According to a project update presented at the Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting, the MOU specifies several potential activities including:

  • Planning for the establishment of the Central Region Behavioral Health Hub,
  • Collaboration of operations at the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital,
  • Development of a collaborative legal entity to support multiple providers offering new Care Coordination services.

UC San Diego Health will also take over the County’s Psychiatric Hospital for the next 5 years as part of the collaboration.

The county originally planned to partner with both UC San Diego Health and Scripps Health on the behavioral health hub project, but Scripps ultimately did not sign off on the memorandum of understanding.

“I am disappointed Scripps Health could not be part of this agreement. Although they are not joining the effort at this time, I am greatly encouraged by outreach from other health systems that would like to join in our efforts. We remain open to working with anyone whose primary commitment is better outcomes for those in need,” added Fletcher.