Making Connections Matter

The California Hospital Association hosted the 13th annual Behavioral Health Symposium in Riverside, California, on December 10-11th.


The Symposium’s theme this year was “Making Connections Matter.” This theme was expressed throughout the conference with each panelist taking it to heart.


Carmela Coyle, President and CEO of the California Hospital Association, opened the symposium on the status and profound work of the Behavioral Health Action Coalition. The Coalition is comprised of more than fifty statewide organizations that are united to raise awareness about behavioral health issues. Carmela Coyle described how the organizations were looking towards the future and while they may not agree on specific policy areas, all want to elevate the issue of behavioral health as a critical issue for the public and Legislators.


There were thirteen county behavioral health departments alongside CBHDA in attendance, more than double of last year—fostering cross system connections and collaboration.


One of the most impactful presentations covered Vista Del Mar Psychiatric Hospital grappling with evacuations during the massive Thomas Fire in 2017. The Hospital was told, “You’re on your own” when the order of evacuation came in and had to sort out how to ensure the safety of patients. This presentation emphasized the amount of trust needed and connections fostered for the steadfast resolution to evacuate 70 patients safely.


Another panel, “Five Guys Talking,” brought together five hospital and health system executives who shared their personal behavioral health. These high-level executives described how their lived experience could be utilized to inform their work and help impact other people’s lives.  This excellent panel showed just how a positive experience with the healthcare system, one that focuses on building trust with a no wrong door approach, can improve lives.


CBHDA is #HereForYou

Tyler Rinde

Legislative Analyst

Tyler RindeCBHDA