ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION: On May 24, the San Diego Association of Governments presented its Initial Interim Report on Alternatives to Incarceration to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Among some of the findings:
- Most individuals booked into jail test positive for at least one substance. In 2020 it was 82% of males and 67% of females.
- Meth is the primary drug used by individuals booked into San Diego County jails.
- Around one in three individuals interviewed in jail reported some type of mental health issue.
Some of the key takeaways include exploring opportunities to expand or implement programs to better address underlying behavioral health and substance use disorder needs and researching best practices and programs for alternatives to incarceration that would be more cost-effective than jail. The group is scheduled to return for its next presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 25.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: The Department of Health Care Access and Information has announced two grant opportunities. The emphasis of the Psychiatry Education Capacity Expansion Programis placed on recruiting and training culturally diverse psychiatry residents/fellows and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students. The application cycle closes on July 1. For more information, visit Psychiatric Education Capacity Expansion. The Health Professions Pathway Program is a grant opportunity for organizations to develop and implement health professions pathways programs that can include pipeline programs, summer internships, and post-undergraduate fellowships. The application cycle closes on July 29. For more information, visit Health Professions Pathways Program.
COVID-19 REBOUND AFTER PAXLOVID TREATMENT: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory to update health care providers, public health departments, and the public on the potential for recurrence of COVID-19 or “COVID-19 rebound.” Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe disease and helps prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. A rebound of COVID-19 has been reported to occur between two and eight days after initial recovery and is characterized by a recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative.
MENTAL HEALTH: The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), in partnership with the California Department of Public Health, is providing support to community-based organizations and county behavioral health departments through the Community Mental Health Equity Project (CMHEP) to implement population-specific and community-driven approaches. Assembly Bill 74 (Chapter 23, Statutes of 2019) authorized funding to provide training and technical assistance to county behavioral health departments and CMHEP efforts will cover two years. DHCS hired the Center for Applied Research Solutions to develop statewide community-driven policy guidance, along with strategies and interventions aimed at reducing disparities in access to health and behavioral health care. A robust data collection framework to evaluate improvements in access to culturally responsive care will accompany the newly developed policy guidance.
SAN DIEGO BUDGET: On June 13, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved Mayor Gloria’s $5 billion “Ready to Rebuild” budget. It includes a $141 million or 2.9% increase from the budget that was proposed in May. The budget focuses on repairing aging infrastructure, improving city services, enforcing new regulations, increasing pay for first responders and other city employees, and reducing homelessness. Last-minute additions to the budget included $3.6 million to help 300 struggling renters remain in their homes, a new multidisciplinary outreach team to help particularly vulnerable residents who are experiencing homelessness, and $1.1 million for the city’s Climate Equity Fund.