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Exodus Recovery likely to run new psychiatric facility at Tri-City Medical Center

San Diego Union-Tribune - 6/4/2024

San Diego County is considering a contract with Exodus Recovery Inc. to run its new 16-bed psychiatric hospital on the grounds of Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside.

Supervisors unanimously approved negotiating a single-source agreement with the private company, which operates mental health and substance use treatment centers in many Southern California communities. The new stand-alone center at Tri-City replaces a hospital unit closed in 2018.

Luke Bergmann, the county's director of behavioral health, said Tuesday that his department has worked with Exodus since 2008. Most recently, the county chose the provider to run its two community-based crisis stabilization centers in Vista and Oceanside. Exodus also runs mental health care mobile crisis response teams in North County that can respond to nonviolent incidents, including those involving unhoused residents.

Bergmann said that existing work in the area, as well as approval from Tri-City, justified the use of a sole-source agreement.

"It's an opportunity to take advantage of particularly seamless connections between these different levels of service if they all sit under the Exodus umbrella," Bergmann said.

Exodus, he added, has previous experience operating locked mental health care units of the same size and scope. The company's website lists 16-bed locked psychiatric health facilities under its management in Culver City, where it is based, and in Fresno.

Bergmann said that the company has proven its ability to incorporate treatment that takes patients' support structures into account.

"To have a provider that has a long history of weaving community supports into their work, and that has a history of doing acute psychiatric care, feels promising," Bergmann said.

If approved, the five-year contract, which would have six options for renewal, is estimated to cost $9.3 million per year.

Though the county recently estimated that it expects the new center to open in the late summer or early fall, Bergmann declined to give a more precise estimate Tuesday.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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