Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 9:14 pm | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Changes in the Works for Santa Barbara County ADMHS

Big changes may be in store for the Santa Barbara County Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services. The details are being worked out in the wings, and are expected to be released to the public in the spring.

The county Board of Supervisors authorized two consultants to be brought on to look at inpatient and outpatient systems within the department last fall.

Health Management and Associates is examining inpatient services, such as the county’s beleaguered psychiatric health facility and what can be improved.

In October, HMA started its inpatient review first because that had been a “very directed look” from supervisors, according to Assistant County CEO Terri Maus-Nisich. 

Several months later, county supervisors voted to expand that look and have the company explore what it would mean to open a psychiatric facility in the north county at an old Marian Medical Center.

Another company, Tri-West Association, is looking at the outpatient operations, including clinic operations, Crisis and Recovery Emergency Services, mobile units and the like.

Around the same time, Director Ann Detrick abruptly announced her resignation from ADMHS.

“As I leave, I am very optimistic about the future of county services for persons of all ages with serious mental illness and their families,” she said.

Dr. Takashi Wada was appointed interim director in Detrick’s wake, and Maus-Nisich said the county is not looking for a new director currently and won’t explore that until the reports come out.

“That will determine what we want to do in terms of overall structure,” she said, and whether certain areas of public health and mental health can be combined or consolidated.

The audits stemmed out of some simmering anger voiced by county supervisors last summer. They called on an outside contractor examine the pros and cons of combining ADMHS with the Public Health Department in order to solve some of mental health’s financial problems.

“A new paradigm is needed for the mental health department,” Supervisor Salud Carbajal said then. “I, for too long, have been waiting anxiously to see the drastic changes that have been needed. ... It’s time to take a different approach.”

After another particularly harsh meeting with Detrick, supervisors expressed their frustration with how the department was being run. Carbajal said then that he felt like mental health woes come before the board on a monthly basis.

“We’re dealing with issue in closed session that the public doesn’t even know about,” he said. “I’m at the end of my rope. … There’s got to be a better, more appropriate, more accountable way of running this department.”

As for the report in the works and what it may reveal, Maus-Nisich said there aren’t any reports that can be made public yet because they’re still in a nascent stage.

The county’s 19-member executive advisory committee has been going over the findings, and the committee has been providing additional input.

“We’re still doing the back and forth of the dialogue,” Maus-Nisich said, adding that a report, and recommendations, are likely to go before supervisors in March or April. “I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion that goes on.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.