Effective healthcare must be communal healthcare
The Bible says who would build a building without first considering the cost? The designers of the Bridge Center, obviously.
The taxpayers of East Baton Rouge Parish voted for a mental health tax in great part because they were told by the promoters that this facility would in fact stop the use of the jail as a de facto mental health facility. That tax passed and a creation was designed not by the best and brightest minds in behavioral health but by the policing community. It was given the somewhat dubious name the Bridge Center. Dubious because it is difficult to know what the bridge is.
Louisiana is woefully understaffed in behavioral health professionals and overstaffed with individuals that struggle with serious mental illness. That is a recipe for disaster on the best of days. But the fact that very few of these professionals are willing to take the public health insurance that will underwrite affordability for the population that most needs it is a recipe for lack of access.
The Bridge Center is many things but mostly the wrong choice to solve the wrong problem. Until there is a recognition that all healthcare must be communal, interconnected and prevention focused it will continue to never live up to the desires of the taxpayers who agreed to fund it.
It doesn’t meet the need, doesn’t provide the resources, is in an area that is designed to make sure that those of means would choose any other solution and doesn’t serve as diversion program to prevent those struggling from ending up in the jail.
Until this facility is reorganized as a part of the continuum of care system and accountable to the healthcare community and meets the standards of the large healthcare community it will just be another well-meaning but notorious “government boondoggle.” Except the only thing governmental about the Bridge Center is taxpayer dollars.