Psychiatric Care Approved for MLK Medical Campus

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved the construction of and $7 million per year in funding for a new psychiatric urgent care center on the Martin Luther King Medical Campus. The new facility will provide much-needed services for both adults and teens.

The new center’s services will include psychiatric evaluation and assessment, crisis intervention, medication support and medication management. Also available will be individual and family treatment, alcohol and drug counseling and prevention, domestic violence screening and referrals to other community resources where people can seek help. The center will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“With this new center, the new hospital and the new outpatient center, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus will be poise to offer a constellation of medical, health and wellness services to the community,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion. “Treating mental health is one of the foremost issues of our time, and many families know that finding a well-regarded treatment center can often be difficult. Now there will be services readily available to those who suffer from mental illness and help available their families. There is no shame in seeking help.”

Nearly one in four adults—or 57.7 million Americans—have a mental health disorder and need help. In Los Angeles, there is a desperate need of psychiatric services, but far too few available resources and outlets for treatment. Instead, hospital emergency rooms have become ground zero for psychiatric patients in need of help—providing only temporary intervention at great expense. It is expected that in particular, services provided by the Martin Luther King Jr. Psychiatric Urgent Care facility will alleviate severe psychiatric emergency room overcrowding occurring in the South Los Angeles and South Bay areas.

The center will be run by Exodus Recovery, Inc., which has been providing psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment services in Southern California since 1989.  The organization has established several hospital-based inpatient and outpatient programs, a psychiatric and internal medicine provider group and a behavioral health managed care company.

Although there will be an emphasis on serving the indigent and Medi-Cal patients, no one will be turned away. Anyone over the age of 13 will be accepted, however, adolescents and adults who are admitted will be housed on separate floors.

The approach to helping patients will be all encompassing, with psychologists, social workers, nurses, case workers and housing specialists on hand to help people get back on their feet.  In addition, the center will work to develop strong ties to community centers, faith-based organizations and housing resources to continue offering services to those in need.