Tri-City Medical Center
Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. File photo

County officials and Tri-City Medical Center reached an agreement in principal Tuesday to reopen a psychiatric unit closed since last year.

The agreement will re-open Tri-City’s inpatient psychiatric beds with the county and Tri-City sharing costs. The unit has been closed since October, leaving coastal North County without access to emergency mental health care.

The deal was announced by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, who issued a joint statement.

“We are pleased that an agreement has been reached between the County of San Diego and Tri-City Medical Center to restore inpatient psychiatric services on their campus,” said Fletcher and Boerner Horvath. “While there is still a lot of work left to do in order to build a regional, integrated, coordinated and effective behavioral health care system in San Diego, this action represents a step forward.”

The deal to reopen the unit came on the eve of a hearing in Sacramento to request a state audit the hospital. Horvath agreed to suspend the request for that audit.

“Given that we now have a pathway forward that will bring these beds back online, we are suspending our request for a state audit of Tri-City and have pulled the item off the agenda for tomorrow’s hearing of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee,” said Fletcher and Boerner Horvath.

The agreement still requires approval by the County Board of Supervisors and the Tri-City Healthcare District Board of Directors.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.