For the past twenty years the system has failed my son. He is now 39 years old and suffers from severe and persistent schizoaffective disorder. He is not getting effective care, is not functional nor stabilized and he is costing a fortune. In the past two months his cost to Medicare in ER visits and short term inpatient stays has been more than $33,000. He is now homeless, delusional and has persistent homicidal ideations, yet he does not meet grave disability standards in San Francisco. The residential treatment programs repeatedly send him back to the hospital because they say that he needs a higher level of care and upon release they refuse to take him back. He is considered too much of a liability and too dangerous to be in their care yet the higher level of care turns out to be a homeless shelter!! The medications no longer work, he keeps begging to be readmitted to a locked facility but there is no room at the Inn. The officers who repeatedly come to my home are kind, understanding and very frustrated because they know that this cycle will just keep repeating itself. He is homeless for the first time in his life and it is a direct result of DPH policy.
In 2000 SFGH had approximately 150 acute in patient beds. Today they have 19 and our director of public health is not promising to keep them open!! The claim is that they are not needed, that people are not sick enough to meet criteria to be inpatients and that voluntary outpatient care is more than adequate. Case manager loads are increasing and the number of community residential treatment beds is rapidly declining. People with severe psychosis are rushed through a system that expects them to “recover” in a month and uses single room occupancy hotels and so called stabilization beds for psychotic people released from the hospital before they are at all stable enough to care for themselves. The city has adopted the tough love let them hit bottom mantra of AA and those with severe schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders that do not quickly respond to medication are said to “not want to get well.” No one who works for the department of health is allowed to talk to the press. It is almost impossible to track where the money goes.
Anonymous to protect from retaliation