San Francisco Awarded $33.7 Million Grant to Fund New Adolescents Psychiatric Treatment Facilities

The new facilities at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital will add inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for youth
December 19, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor London N. Breed today announced a $33.7 million state grant awarded to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to build new inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities for youth at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), which will include a 12-bed psychiatric inpatient program and a 24-slot intensive behavioral health outpatient program.   

The grant awarded by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will address the urgent regional need for more inpatient and outpatient treatment options for adolescents who are uninsured or on Medi-Cal, with capabilities to serve a minimum of 450 people in its inpatient unit and at least 900 intensive outpatient treatment clients annually.    

“Our youth deserve the same access to quality care, but for too long San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities who are low-income or without healthcare coverage have been overlooked. When we invest in intervening and comprehensive services for this critical age group, we know they have a real shot at leading healthy and full lives,” said Mayor Breed. “I want to thank the State for recognizing the great need for this funding, which will help expand the City’s footprint of crisis and intensive services for our children and adolescent youth with significant mental health needs.”    

“We are thankful to the state of California for recognizing the serious need for more psychiatric treatment options for children and teens with mental health challenges,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco Director of Health. “Treating behavioral health concerns is lifesaving, and can protect youth from serious social consequences of untreated mental illness, including difficulty maintaining housing, connections to family and community, and employment, and premature death. By investing in public health care systems, the state is investing in the future of our youth and giving them the best opportunities to grow and thrive.”    

SFDPH Behavioral Health Services will use the funding to renovate, remodel and bring to code two large and currently unused spaces at ZSFG, the city’s public hospital and only Level 1 trauma center serving San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.    

“This an extraordinary opportunity to grow our continuum of behavioral health services for youth in San Francisco,” said Dr. Hillary Kunins, Director of Behavioral Health Services. “This funding will give the City the space needed to deliver the highest quality care to young people with complex and pressing needs who are uninsured or enrolled in Medi-Cal.”  

The 12-bed inpatient adolescent psychiatric hospital will operate on the seventh floor of ZSFG. The sixth floor will expand current outpatient services delivered by UCSF to include an intensive behavioral health outpatient and partial hospitalization program capable of treating as many as 24 young people at a time.   

San Francisco has a robust network of behavioral health services to meet the needs of children, youth, and families. Currently, SFDPH works with private hospitals across the Bay Area and northern California for the inpatient placement of youth experiencing mental health crisis. By building our own county-run unit in collaboration with UCSF at ZSFGH, the City has the ability to make placement decisions to ensure all adolescents have access to this critical service close to home and supported by their families. The expansion of current outpatient services at ZSFGH to include intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospital program, will allow San Francisco to create a crisis continuum for youth and families.  

“I am grateful to the state of California for providing the funds necessary to meet this critical need to provide expanded inpatient and intensive outpatient services for young people,” said Dr. Susan Ehrlich, ZSFG Chief Executive Officer. “I look forward to working with all of our partners to open these new facilities at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.”   

“UCSF is excited to provide greater support and care to meet the behavioral health needs of adolescents,” said Dr. Lisa Fortuna, UCSF Executive Vice Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Chief of Psychiatry at ZSFG. “There is a need for expanding resources in our community for publicly insured children, including those in the foster and juvenile justice systems, and this grant will help enhance services that are critical to our community’s most vulnerable youth. We're thrilled to work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to strengthen the continuum of care for children.”   

The units will be fully funded by SFDPH and managed in collaboration with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services, with which ZSFG maintains a longstanding partnership. A timeline estimating when construction will begin, and when the programs will launch, will be determined in early 2023.    

San Francisco was one of 54 awardees this year under the DHCS grant program to support new or expanded behavioral health facilities for youth.