Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for July 23rd, 2013

Proud To Be A Psychiatrist

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 23, 2013

“Problems at Salinas Valley Psychiatric Program came to light in January, when nine psychiatrists wrote a letter to the facility’s then-executive director — copied to Gaither’s office — saying that high patient loads were “not safe or appropriate.” Gaither denied the allegations but overhauled the program’s leadership. Atascadero State Hospital psychiatrists also wrote a letter to that facility’s executive director this spring, citing shortages among their ranks.”,0,2759486.story

Today’s LA Times warmed my heart. So much of the time, on this blog, I complain that psychiatrists are not doing enough to protest the poor treatment of the mentally ill. So, today when I read about psychiatrists protesting about patient care, I was relieved and proud. The psychiatrists are speaking out, leaving me to wonder why Steve Lopez, in his series of articles on the mentally ill, never mentions psychiatrists. I also learned from this article that the Department of Mental Health (DMH) has become the Department of State Hospitals, curiously leaving out the word “mental” as these “State Hospitals” are mental hospitals. Hmmm….So, I learned the following….

Welcome to the New Department of State Hospitals!

On December 7, 2011, the California Department of Mental Health announced the blueprint to establish the new Department of State Hospitals and reforms to the Department of Mental Health structure designed to improve the mental hospital system in California. Interesting.

There is still the LA County Department of Mental Health, but the State Department of Mental Health has reorganized.

State mental health services are now part of DHCS (Department of Health Care Services) and not it’s own department. I knew this change was coming, but I did not know the specifics, until this article reminded me to check it out! My impression is that this change is detrimental to mental health care, as mental health used to have it’s own budget and now it is part of the bigger health care budget. All of this will be important if the Affordable Care Act rolls out in January, 2014.

With all of that, I repeat. Today, I am basking in the glow of my colleagues standing up for patient care.

Posted in Media Coverage | 5 Comments »

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