The New San Antonio State Hospital: Modernized Mental Health Care

The Health and Human Services Commission has announced serious plans for the San Antonio State Hospital. Being one of the largest primary and secondary care units in Texas, this mental health hospital is about to receive major upgrades.

This is part of a 300-million-dollar project proposed by lawmakers for the 2018-19 budget. The money will go to state hospitals across Texas, in an attempt to improve health care services for all Texans.

As for San Antonio State Hospital, an amount of $14,5 million will go towards the new psychiatric hospital that will provide quality mental health services.  

The Mental Health Need in Texas

In recent years, mental illness has become a serious concern for our representatives. As a result, the government is allocating serious funding for behavioral health hospitals. 

San Antonio State Hospital

For the San Antonio State Hospital, the money that was allocated from the state budget is a fresh breath of air, as major improvements are needed.

Current Conditions

According to a statement by Sen. Carlos Uresti, “The current San Antonio State Hospital is full of potential, but the buildings on the campus are many decades old.” 

That’s why part of the money will be spent on renovating and modernizing the old buildings at the facility. 

Plans for a New Hospital

By 2022, Texans will have a brand new 300-bed hospital in San Antonio. This project is divided into three phases which will involve the construction of a new building for inpatient psychiatric care and the renovation as well as the modernization of old buildings.

And since mental health services extend far beyond inpatient care; authorities are planning to partner with stakeholders, advocates, higher education, and other health-related institutions, aiming to provide unparalleled care. 

An Opportunity to Optimize and Modernize

This significant investment represents a huge opportunity to optimize and modernize, not just for the San Antonio State Hospital but for other health care units across the state as well.

With the planning phase already underway, the construction phase will begin by the end of this year.

Proposed Solutions to the Psychiatric Care Dilemma

To solve the psychiatric care issues at San Antonio, the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) has submitted a daring plan to the governor and legislature. The Comprehensive Plan for State-Funded Inpatient Mental Health Services is the blueprint that will make this project a reality. 

Capacity Issues

One of the major issues that the San Antonio State Hospital and other health care units in the area have been struggling with for years is capacity.

Two factors mainly caused this problem. On the one hand, there has been an increasing demand for inpatient psychiatric care, and on the other, some of the buildings had to close down due to poor conditions.

As a result, one of the main goals of this project is to increase the capacity of each new facility by renovating and modernizing the facilities that had to be shut down.

Local Workforce

In 2017 alone, state hospitals across Texas had to vacate 200 beds due to much needed repairs and hospital staff shortages. Aside from increasing capacity, another crucial part of the project is hiring professional staff that can provide quality medical care services.

To attract a local workforce and to avoid recruitment and retention challenges, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission are looking to establish partnerships with health-related institutions in the area.

Partnership Opportunities

As for partnership opportunities, the HHS has organized community engagement meetings (during Phase I of the project) to gain some perspective on the problems they need to address and to partner with other health-related organizations.

Among the stakeholders that UTHSCSA leadership has engaged are law enforcement, local mental health authorities, and the current staff at San Antonio State Hospital.

Stake-Holder Input

As it turns out, the meetings that took place during the pre-planning stage brought valuable input from stakeholders.

One of the issues they addressed is the current mental health status. Stakeholders pointed out that mental health treatment is often perceived as either “crisis” or “long-term.”

Since mental health and psychiatric care are more of an “in between” process, the focus should be on continuum care where several different health and community organizations are involved in helping patients recover and improve their overall quality of life.

State Hospital System: New Focus

Based on the detailed plan submitted to the legislature, it’s obvious that the HHS is looking to modernize and optimize not just the facilities but also the approach to mental health.

System Transformation

For this daring project, the Texas Health and Human Services are planning to follow three essential principles: unparalleled care, easy access, and a systems-based continuum of care.

But what exactly does this mean?

Unparalleled Care

We know for a fact that the design of health facilities can significantly improve treatment and recovery. By aiming to offer cutting edge services, this project will bring the San Antonio State Hospital into the 21st century.

Easy Access

By providing easy access to quality mental health services, the San Antonio State Hospital will be able to serve the needs of all people in the area. That means using technology to bridge geographic gaps and providing inpatient psychiatric care in locations where this service is missing.

Systems-Based Continuum of Care

Since mental health involves more than just inpatient care, the HHS plans to offer a wide array of alternatives. That’s why it was crucial to find reliable partners and stakeholders to contribute to and support a comprehensive approach to mental health.

Expectations for the New State Hospital

Overall, it seems like this 300-million-dollar state-funded project will revolutionize mental health services across Texas. By 2022, Texans will be able to benefit from unparalleled care, easy access to health services, and a modern approach to behavioral health issues.

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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