San Diego Veterans Village lifts county enrollment restriction

After a seven-month pause, San Diego County officials decided to reopen admissions to the drug and alcohol treatment center, which has struggled to meet safety and staffing requirements.

The County Department of Behavioral Health Services has informed Veterans Village of San Diego, a nonprofit organization, that the new referrals will begin on March 1 and will begin accepting clients on March 6.

The decision lifts the county’s August ban on admissions to rehab, which was made “to ensure the safety, support, and clinical well-being of people with behavioral health problems.” The county said the hold would remain in place “pending corrective action.”

County spokesman Mike Workman said the Veterans Village is still under corrective action notice and is under close monitoring to ensure compliance.

“Ongoing and future oversight of VVSD will include monitoring activities such as reviewing client records and program documentation, ongoing meetings with VVSD, technical assistance and regular site visits,” Workman said.

The County manages clients admitted to a non-profit rehab facility through the Drug MediCal funding program. In Fiscal Year 2021, Veterans Village received $6 million through

a program that both veterans and civilians can enroll in.

But the county decided to suspend admission two months after the June The source of information the investigation found numerous health and safety hazards at the rehab facility and reported multiple deaths and overdoses at the facility. The freeze affected only county-eligible clients, not clients enrolled through the Veterans Administration or other programs.

Following the freeze, Veterans Village told the county it would take additional steps to help residents at high risk of overdosing. These steps include checking rooms more frequently, removing and replacing bathroom door locks, increasing the number of urine tests, providing escorts for off-campus travel, and transfers to a more intensive care unit if necessary.

Veterans Village Chief Executive Akila Templeton declined to comment on the story, but she has previously defended the organization, saying it continues to provide safe, quality care in the face of multiple challenges beyond its control, including COVID-19. pandemic, the opioid crisis, and industry-wide shortages.

The Veterans Village has operated in San Diego for more than four decades, providing addiction treatment, housing, employment services, legal support, dental care, and other resources to thousands of veterans each year. He is famous for founding the Stand Down, an annual three-day event that connects homeless veterans with community resources. The program has been replicated in hundreds of cities and has been praised by two US presidents.

The nonprofit recently expanded its partnership with the Cohen Veterans Network to provide more mental health services to veterans and military families. Together, they opened a new psychiatric clinic in Torrance, California earlier this month that offers treatment for post-traumatic stress, depression and other issues.

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