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Be Well OC Breaks Ground on First Mental Health and Wellness Campus in Orange County

Be Well OC Campus is the first physical manifestation of mental health care systems change in Orange County

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Today, representatives from across California, County of Orange, the City of Orange, CalOptima, and local nonprofit hospital systems – including Kaiser Permanente – came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of the first Be Well OC Regional Mental Health and Wellness Campus at 265 Anita Drive in Orange, California. 

“Today marks a momentous occasion in Orange County’s history as we celebrate the public-private partnership between the County of Orange and our health care partners,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District.

The new 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility set for completion in fall 2020 will offer best-in-class mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs available to all residents, regardless of payer. Service elements will include triage, psychiatric intake and referral, substance use disorder intake and referral, withdrawal management, transitional residential, residential treatment, and an integrated support center.

“Having access to mental health services for all of our county’s citizens is critical, and so is collaboration between health care providers,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Second District. “The progress we are making here is one significant part of the many projects we are working on countywide to improve access to mental health services.”

Innovative initiative

This first of 3 Be Well OC campuses marks the initial physical manifestation of the broader Be Well OC initiative. The initiative is the first of its kind in the state of California to leverage the best-in-class capabilities of public, private, academic, faith-based entities, and others, to create a coordinated system of care to solve this pervasive mental health care challenge. Currently, more than 100 organizations play a role in the Be Well ecosystem.

“For too long, Orange County has lacked the resources to treat mental health problems, psychiatric emergencies, and substance abuse disorders,” said Orange County Board Supervisor Andrew Do, First District, who has made improving the county’s mental health care one of his top priorities on the Board of Supervisors. “This facility will support all Orange County patients and families struggling with mental illness by getting them the care they need.”

Supervisor Do added that the facility is an integral component in the county’s plan to combat homelessness: “There’s no doubt that our state’s lack of mental health treatment facilities has exacerbated our state’s homeless crisis. This mental health facility is another important component in our effort to address homelessness.”

The Orange County Board of Supervisors committed $16.6 million for the development of the campus, in addition to investments from CalOptima, Kaiser Permanente, Hoag, and Providence St. Joseph Health (St. Jude Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital). The projected cost for the campus is $40 million. 

“Kaiser Permanente is proud of our involvement in this exceptional project. This facility is a testament to the care and concern of partners within health care, government, faith-based, and business organizations – a true public-private partnership. I am excited that this facility will address a critical health care need of so many Orange County residents. It will serve as a beacon of hope to all that come through its doors.”

--Mark Costa, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Orange County

Richard Afable, MD, president and board chair, Mind OC, immediate past chair, California Hospital Association, said the integration of mental health and substance abuse services in a central, easily accessible location, like the Be Well OC Campus, is critical.

“Coordination in care and operational synergy among services improves the experience of both the patient and the provider,” said Dr. Afable. “In addition, co-locating social support services with clinical care honors whole-person needs and a whole-systems approach, in order to meet the ultimate goal: improving the mental and emotional well-being of the Orange County community.”

About Be Well OC

The vision of Be Well OC is to lead the nation in optimal mental health and wellness for all residents of Orange County. Be Well brings together a robust, community-based, cross-sector strategy – public, private, academic, faith-based and others – to create a community-wide coordinated ecosystem to support optimal mental health. For more information visit bewelloc.org.