Chasing my own tail, I finally got an answer out of Butte County Behavioral Health Director about cops in Enloe ER

21 Feb

I got a note from Tim today, asking if I was still up to having meetings at the library. Thanks for asking Tim. Right now I am up to my armpits in family sickness, but yes, I’d like to gas up the old CTA and get ready for Election 2016.

Maybe I’ll be able to think about that in March,  right now I’m sleeping on my living room floor in increments of about 15 – 20 minutes, one ear always ready for the sound of puking or other illness. It’s the dog flu, it’s hit us good and hard, and we’re hunkering down.

You know how nothing else matters when somebody you love is sick?

Thanks though, I’ll get on that, you other taxpayers start thinking about a meeting too.  

And Thanks again Tim, you reminded me, I finally got an answer from Butte County Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell. I had asked him a few questions about procedure.

As I have repeated about 800 times, the police have always used this story that they spend so much time at Enloe Hospital babysitting homeless people (whom they perceive to be “a danger to themselves or the public”, they need more money for stuff like:

  • special radios – they can’t use their cell phones in the hospital
  • a special room, just for them, within the hospital, where they can sit privately while waiting. Supposedly they have all these reports to fill out, they figure while they cool their heels with these indigents they drag in they should be doing paperwork.  The hospital, they say, is willing to provide a space, but the cops say they need money to fix that space up (not sure what exactly that means). 
  • more staff, automatic step promotions and pay increases,  88 percent of their CalPERS, etc.

I sat in at a meeting where Kittrell described Behavioral Health services, and part of their job is to go to Enloe Hospital to collect “people who are a danger to themselves or the public” from the police.  I wanted to find out, how long does it take these BH staffers to show up at the hospital. Why are the police claiming they are stuck with these indigents for hours on end? 

Kittrell answered back, but was slow in telling me anything. He immediately admitted, “I have been working with the new Chief of Police and it has been helpful to have a collaborative relationship with his department.”  Then he suggested we should meet and discuss it. Oh yeah, right – guy makes over $200,000/year in salary, plus health and pension for which he pays about 9 percent of the premium, but he has time to meet with me and answer questions? But he can’t do it in an e-mail? 

They always try to meet – they don’t want to say anything in writing.  I just had to keep asking.  He told me he’d spoken with the police chief, who denied efforts to get a substation. I gave him the link to this interview when I’d asked him, but he just acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

http://chicocurrents.net/2015/08/10/459/

Again, I just kept asking and he just kept the conversation going without answering – at one point complaining there is a lack of “beds” for these patients, as if they were having trouble taking them off the cops’ hands.  I realize, I’ve been trying to get the answer to the substation question since last August.

In October Kittrell told me and Maureen Kirk, ” The biggest issue facing people waiting in the ERs is the number of acute psychiatric inpatients beds available at any given time – they are often full.  There are plans for another 120 bed facility to be built in Sacramento but that is two years out.  Since I have come to Chico, I have purchased 4 beds at a Yuba City inpatient facility which has increased the total number of beds controlled by Butte County to 20 (16 in our Chico facility (Cohasset Road facility purchased last year) and now 4 in Yuba City).  In particular, the number of inpatient psychiatric beds for patients that have medical needs (in other words, they need a psychiatric bed but also need hospital level services, e.g. have IVs or need significant wound care, etc.) are in greater need and these types of beds are almost non-existent in Northern California (Woodland Memorial has approx. 20 of these type of beds for the entire North State).

Look at the money  this guy is spending, but the cops are still claiming they spend so much time in Enloe, blah blah blah. I finally had to ask him, just how long does it take one of your staffers to get over to Enloe to collect these people?

I thought he was finally giving me the slip when I got a notice that he would be out of his office for a week, so I sent my questions to Supervisor Kirk, and cc’d Kittrell. He responded immediately, even after his auto-response had said he wouldn’t be able to access e-mail or phone until sometime the following week.  While his previous e-mails were positively chatty, his last e-mail was terse.

Juanita,

 Behavioral Health has staff in the ERs 7 days a week from 2pm to 11pm to serve clients coming to the ER.   Between 11pm and 2pm we respond usually within one hour, often times shorter. (This seems contrary to what he told me previously about having trouble finding “beds”)

 Regarding the rate at the PHF (psychiatric facility), it is approximately 550 per day.

I replied, 

Thanks, Mr. Kittrell, for your patience in answering my questions. 

One hour, oftentimes shorter – the reason I ask, is that Chico PD claims that officers are kept so long at the ER that they don’t have time for other duties. They also claim that  their cellphones/radios don’t work in the hospital, and because they spend so much time there, they need funding for new ones. 

And thank you for answering my other question – $550 per patient per day. 

 – JS”

See, I’m always polite, but I’ll be damned, after raising two kids, if I’m going to let some carpetbagging slicker dodge me on a question. 

So, I almost forgot the other question I had asked him. I had read an article in the ER about Kittrell citing an old law from the 80’s, that extended the amount of time the county is allowed to put a “psychiatric hold” on a patient without their consent, increasing it by about 30 days.  I’d asked, what agency would pay for this, and how much more money per patient the hold would amount to.

There he tells us – the county gets $550 per patient per day for these people they can collect off the street. Get aload of this – the patient does not even have to be “a danger to themselves or the public,” it’s just up to the county doctors to decide when this person is ready to be released. While they collect an extra $550 a day to hold onto this patient. 

I think the money provides too much incentive to hold people who are not really being helped.  I feel Kittrell is more of a fundraiser than a psychiatrist. To my knowledge he doesn’t even use the title “doctor”. Here’s how he signs an e-mail:

Dorian Kittrell, Director

Butte County Behavioral Health

109 Parmac Road, Suite 1A

Chico, CA 95926

Phone: (530) 891-2850

Fax: (530) 895-6549

See, no “DR.” in front of his name. 

This man is supposed to help people with behavioral health issues, but I think he just sees cash cows. 

Is he driving you crazy yet?

 

 

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One Response to “Chasing my own tail, I finally got an answer out of Butte County Behavioral Health Director about cops in Enloe ER”

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  1. Whose being mau-mau’d here? Trying to get answers out of public staff, I’m just getting “the business” | Chico Taxpayers Association - February 21, 2016

    […] Chasing my own tail, I finally got an answer out of Butte County Behavioral Health Director about co… […]

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