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Huge Donation Helps Address Huge Gap In Local Health Care

Montage Health
Bertie Bialek Elliot $105.8-million gift will fill a huge gap in local health care.

$105.8-million.  That’s how much a single donor is giving local, non-profit Montage Health.  The money will create a new youth mental health program and facility for Monterey County.

Called Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family, the developing program and future facility will address a huge gap in local health care. 

Right now when a local youth is suffering a mental health crisis like depression, anxiety or PTSD, the only option is outpatient care. 

According to the California Hospital Association, 44 out of California’s 58 counties have no psychiatric beds for children and teens.   That includes no beds in Santa Cruz, San Benito or Monterey Counties.

“Every single mental health practitioner in Monterey County, and there’s a limited number of them, is inundated.  We know from the California Department of Education survey that mental health issues and mental health symptoms are quite prevalent,” said Dr. Steve Packer, CEO of Montage Health, the parent non-profit of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

Ohana will address that need.

Donor Bertie Bialek Elliot of Carmel says the idea jumped out at her because there’s nothing like it locally.  She was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, which was founded by her brother Warren Buffett. 

Bialek Elliot talked about her gift in a promotional video for Montage Health.

“I wanted to make a significant gift to the community here, which I love.  And I wanted to do something that would benefit the community at large and Community Hospital benefits almost everyone,” she said.

Her gift is  the largest ever for Montage and any non-profit on the Monterey Peninsula. 

“It sounded like the kind of project to me that wouldn’t happen if there wasn’t a big gift made,” she said in the video.

When fully realized, Ohana’s facility will include an estimated 24 in-patient beds, rooms for family counseling and an outpatient treatment wing.  It will be built in Monterey’s Ryan Ranch.

Krista joined KAZU in 2007. She is an award winning journalist with more than a decade of broadcast experience. Her stories have won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and honors from the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association. Prior to working at KAZU, Krista reported in Sacramento for Capital Public Radio and at television stations in Iowa. Like KAZU listeners, Krista appreciates the in-depth, long form stories that are unique to public radio. She's pleased to continue that tradition in the Monterey Bay Area.