CalMHSA: Evaluation of California's Statewide Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives
Nov 30, 2022
This report presents an evaluation of California's psychiatric bed needs in 2021 and the coming years. California, like many states, is confronting a psychiatric bed shortage. To strategically build capacity, the state must understand its psychiatric bed needs. The authors examine California's adult bed capacity, need, and the gap between them at three levels of inpatient and residential care: acute, subacute, and community residential services.
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Psychiatric beds are essential infrastructure for meeting the needs of individuals with mental health conditions. However, not all psychiatric beds are alike: They represent infrastructure within different types of facilities, ranging from acute psychiatric hospitals to community residential facilities. These facilities, in turn, serve clients with different needs: some who have high-acuity, short-term needs and others who have chronic, longer-term needs and may return multiple times for care. California, much like many parts of the United States, is confronting a shortage of psychiatric beds. In this report, the authors estimated California's psychiatric bed capacity, need, and shortages for adults at each of three levels of care: acute, subacute, and community residential care. They used multiple methods for assessing bed capacity and need in order to overcome limitations to any single method of estimating the potential psychiatric bed shortfall. The authors identified statewide shortfalls in beds at all levels of inpatient and residential care. They also documented regional differences in the shortfall and identified special populations that contributed to bottlenecks in the continuum of inpatient and residential care in the state.
This research was funded by the California Mental Health Services Authority and carried out within the Access and Delivery Program in RAND Health Care.
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