Texas Moves to Improve Revolving Door Psychiatric Care System

The Associated Press

Texas is working to improve its revolving door psychiatric care system thanks to decades-long efforts of those with intimate knowledge of the problems.

The mental health system in Texas has long been underfunded and there has been a lack of long-term services for those psychiatric patients needing them.

Now $47.7 million has been allocated to improve the inpatient psychiatric care system in Texas. The Legislative Budget Board and the Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed off so the $47.7 could be used.

The initial $47.7 million is the first installment of $300 million approved by the 85th Texas Legislature to upgrade care in the 2018-2019 biennium.

Mental health experts say this is a significant first step in transforming mental health hospitals so they can focus on actual recovery. It will also relieve financial pressure, and staffing, and facilities issues associated with inmates in the county jail populations, and in emergency rooms, and homeless shelters that are not designed to provide an intensive level of mental health care.

“A strong state psychiatric system is critically important to all Texans. This investment will benefit the state for generations,” Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Executive Commissioner Charles Smith said. “With this support from state leadership, we can update our facilities and be sure we are providing Texans with the very best mental health care possible.”

This initial financial allotment will be used to renovate and architecturally plan for the replacement of existing facilities and to design a new hospital.

The Kerrville and San Antonio State Hospitals will be renovated to expand bed capacity, and there will be a total replacement of the Austin and San Antonio State plants.

The Harris County Psychiatric Center will be expanded.

Judge Rory R. Olsen has been presiding over the mental health docket in Harris County for almost 20 years. He told Breitbart Texas:

All the legislative and administrative pieces that needed to fall into place did just that last year. Thanks to the efforts of many, many people, the expanded Harris County Psychiatric Center will provide state of the art psychiatric care to those who need it most for many years to come. I am honored to have been involved in the quest to expand HCPC.

The funds that are remaining will be formally requested and then distributed throughout the biennium.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on GAB @lanashadwick and Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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