Biweekly Briefing Articles

5 Things To Know: EMS Strategic Plan, Point-In-Time Count, Behavioral Health Funding Opportunity, Blood Donor Month, COVID-19 Outbreaks

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS) OFFICE STRATEGIC PLAN: San Diego County has completed its EMS Strategic Plan 2023-2027. The plan development process for the document, which brings a new focus to the vision of San Diego County EMS, included: 

  • A community-led steering committee  
  • Key stakeholder interviews 
  • Community surveys 
  • Other opportunities for feedback 

The EMS office received more than 1,000 individual comments, suggestions, and recommendations. 

POINT-IN-TIME COUNT: The Regional Task Force on Homelessness 2023 #WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count (PITC) is from 4 to 8 a.m. (PT) on Jan. 26. The purpose of #WeAllCount is to collect data on the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the community and interview those who are living on the streets. Volunteers are still needed to survey those experiencing homelessness across the San Diego region. In 2022, 19 hospitals in San Diego County identified 377 patients experiencing homelessness on the day of the PITC. This year, HASD&IC will continue to support efforts to identify patients experiencing homelessness during the PITC. This data collection helps provide valuable information about the challenges of patients experiencing homelessness. For more information, please fill out this form or contact

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) has issued a request for applications to expand emergency psychiatric assessment, treatment, and healing (EmPATH) units in eligible California hospitals. MHSOAC will grant six awards to investor-owned, not-for-profit, faith-based, and tribally operated California hospitals serving unserved and underserved populations. The application deadline has been extended to Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. (PT). EmPATH units support hospital emergency departments (ED) in quickly transitioning mental health patients from the ED to spaces where they can be quickly assessed and connected with other services. The program is funded through MHSOAC’s $17 million allocation of Mental Health Wellness Act funds as a strategy to expand crisis stabilization units in California hospitals, where mental health clients are treated in EDs. More information, including a budget worksheet, is available on the MHSOAC website

BLOOD DONOR MONTH: January is National Blood Donor Month and aims to increase blood and platelet donations during winter. This is traditionally one of the most difficult times of the year to collect enough blood products to meet patients’ needs. Currently, San Diego’s blood supply is critically low and there is an urgent need for blood donations. Hospitals are asked to help spread the word and the San Diego Blood Bank has developed resources, including a community flyer, that can be shared digitally or printed and distributed.   

COVID-19 OUTBREAKS: Last week, San Diego County shared that 59% of skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs) are navigating COVID-19 outbreaks. This limits admissions and can reduce bed capacity for the required green/yellow/red zones. While the county is supporting the SNFs with infection control and vaccinations, this is only adding to the strain on hospitals that are trying to discharge patients.