Vista Hill Today…

Vista Hill is all about serving people: the individuals; families; and communities of San Diego County.  As a dynamic community-based organization, we develop and maintain a diverse array of quality services and programs throughout the County. 

Vista Hill Video

Our programs range from brief early intervention and preventive work with troubled young people, to treatment with school age kids, to long-term special education and training for individuals with developmental disabilities.  We can be found assisting families in very difficult situations in many of our communities large and small, rural and suburban.  You will see our caring staff working with challenging populations that most other agencies shy away from in areas that are conveniently located to the people we serve.

Dealing Directly with Stigma

We believe that no family is fully immune from the social, emotional, economic or health related impact of mental illness, substance abuse and developmental disabilities.  A person who has life circumstances beyond their control and desires a positive life change need not go it alone – for there is help.  And seeking out the help one needs is a sign of strength that carries no shame.  We believe that our students, consumers and clients deserve hope and respect as they acquire the tools to recover, build or improve their lives.  This spirit is embodied in our logo depicting a person scaling new heights.  To learn more about Vista Hill Service Divisions click here.

.…and Vista Hill Yesterday

In 1957 Vista Hill Foundation was formed as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization devoted to the provision of much needed private psychiatric services in San Diego.  We began a strong commitment to excellence in mental health care by opening Vista Hill Hospital in Chula Vista, San Diego County’s first private free-standing psychiatric hospital. 

In the intervening years, Vista Hill developed a full continuum of acute and sub-acute private psychiatric services in San Diego as well as group homes, public sector services, partial day treatment and a specialty behavioral health HMO.  Some of our hospital and contract management services extended to Los Angeles and Imperial County and in states such as Texas and New Mexico.  

Along the way we introduced innovative treatment approaches and initiated a number of “firsts” in treatment programs.  For example, in 1971 the Los Ninos Education Center was started as a special education program for autistic children (now re-titled the Sam and Rose Stein Education Centers) in a meeting space at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  Mesa Vista Hospital opened the area’s first adolescent inpatient program and day treatment services.  The inpatient and outpatient cognitive behavior treatment program was developed in the 1980’s and the first of its kind on the West Coast.  And in 1989 Vista Hill Foundation acquired a Knox-Keene license to start the Vista Behavioral Health Plan, the region’s only local HMO specializing in behavioral health. 

In recent years, we have surfaced the challenging issue of measuring the results of services provided by not for profit community-based organizations.  We continue to refine our internal efforts in this area in an effort to ensure accountability for our programs and services.  To learn more about outcomes measurement click here.

New Directions

In the mid 1990’s, Vista Hill assessed the ever-changing conditions surrounding healthcare and in particular, behavioral healthcare.   We concluded that several of our programs would be better positioned if placed in the operations of other large-scale organizations or companies.  By moving ownership of our acute psychiatric inpatient programs and the managed care HMO plan to other entities, we positioned ourselves to be more responsive to future shifts in community need. 

We now seek to identify public and private service needs and to develop programs that provide the most effective level of service possible, based upon resources.  We are committed to working with community and business leaders and to collaborate with public and private organizations.  It is through these avenues of communication that the next generation of program and service ideas are born and ultimately become part of the Vista Hill system.

50th Anniversary Booklet. Vista Hill's 50th Anniversary booklet is now available in an electronic version. Please click here to view the PDF file.

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