California Department of State Hospitals (2024)

Department of State Hospitals is reopening for in-person visitation. Protocols for in-person visits have been developed based on CDPH and CDC guidance. The below guidelines are implemented in order to keep patients and their visitors safe during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This information can be shared with family and friends who may wish to visit. It can also be found on the DSH-Metro webpage under ‘Visitor Information’.

If you have any questions, please contact your designated Social Worker, or hospital administration at (562) 651-2223.

General Guidelines:

  • In-person visitation may be modified or suspended based on the hospital's current COVID-19 conditions or as recommended by CDC, CDPH, and local Public Health Department guidance.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated patients are not permitted in-person visitors until fully vaccinated (both doses if Pfizer or Moderna vaccine). Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated patients may continue to have televisits.
  • Patients in isolation with active COVID-19 disease are not permitted to have in-person visitors until released from isolation.
  • If the unit is on quarantine, the patients on that unit may not have in-person visits until quarantine is lifted. We will continue to provide televisits.
  • Patients residing on Admission Observation Units are not permitted to have in-person visits.
  • Each patient is allowed up to two adults and one minor visitor per scheduled visit.
  • No food or drink is allowed during visitation.
  • Patients residing in Program III/IV/V will conduct their visits at the STA Visiting Center. Program I/VI will have visits in their programs.


  • All in-person visits must be scheduled in advance through the DSH-Metro webpage.
  • Times for scheduled visits: 0900, 1000, 1100, 1330, 1430, 1530
  • All visits are limited to 45 minutes due to scheduling and infection control measures.
  • In-person visits can be scheduled on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday for all time slots. On Sunday in-person visits can only be scheduled for the 0900, 1000, 1100 and 1330 time slots. Visiting hours pertain to both PC and LPS patients inside of the STA.
  • Televisits can be scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday for all time slots. On Sunday televisits can only be scheduled for the 1430 & 1530 time slots.
  • DPS and GPS escort teams will provide transportation for patients residing in the STA who have scheduled visits. The Grounds Presence Team will provide additional support as needed.

Screening and Testing Protocols:

  • Visitors should arrive at least 20 minutes in advance of their scheduled visit to allow time for screening and testing protocols.
  • Visitors are screened for COVID-19 including:
    • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • Close contact with individuals with COVID-19 in the prior 14 days
    • Having their temperature taken.
    • Visitors who are screened out will be asked to leave the hospital immediately and reschedule the visit.
  • Visitors are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test prior to their visit. A negative PRC test result obtained within 72 hours of the visit can be used as proof of virus status. Visitors should bring a paper or digital copy of their test result.
  • Rapid antigen testing of visitors 16 years of age and older is required for in-person visitation if the visitor does not bring a negative test result from the last 72 hours. A negative test result is required for the visit.

Infection Control Protocols:

  • Facilities will limit number of visitors per patient and total number of visitors at one time in order to maintain infection control precautions.
  • Infection prevention measures are performed by hospital staff before and after each visit, including cleaning of tables, chairs, commonly touched surfaces, etc.
  • Hand hygiene should be performed by both parties before and after the visit.

During the Visit:

  • Visitors and residents shall wear masks for source control during visitation. The only exception is children under the age of 2. Surgical masks will be provided and required to be worn by visitors at the hospital.
  • Visitors and patients shall maintain social distancing during the visit.
  • Fully vaccinated patients can choose to briefly touch visitors at the beginning and end of each visit while wearing a mask (such as a hug or handshake).
  • Visitors shall maintain social distancing from other patients and staff.
  • All other facility policies related to visiting regulations, attire, and allowable items remain in effect.

If you have questions about the visitation protocols, please reach out to your Unit Supervisor or Treatment Team. Thank you!

All visits must be scheduled in advance. There is no walk-in visitation at this time. Please read through and comply with the visitor guidelines before using the scheduling link to reserve your visit.
DSH-Metropolitan Visitation Scheduling (NOTE: best viewed using Chrome, Internet Explorer may not be supported)

DSH-Metro Visitation Scheduling (NOTE: best viewed using Chrome)

Our Tele-Visit Program is temporary until our facility is able to resume normal visiting operations. This link will take the visitor to the Tele-Visit form. Instructions are provided on the form. All patients at DSH-Metropolitan are able to participate in Tele-Visits depending on scheduling availability:
Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

If you have any questions, please contact your designated Social Worker, or hospital administration at (562) 651-2223.

Please note: You will be required to present your ID at the beginning of the web conference. The information provided will need to match what has been submitted, so please fill out the form with your legal name as it appears on your state-issued ID.

To make tele-visitation available as soon as possible, this process has been implemented while still in development. Due to current limitations and the need for individual background checks, only one visitor will be allowed per time slot. We hope to allow for multiple visitors at once as soon as possible.

Department of State Hospitals – Statewide Contraband List

In accordance with Welfare & Institutions Code Section 7295, to ensure its safety and security, the Department of State Hospitals has developed a list of items deemed contraband at every state hospital.

A. "Contraband" means materials, articles, or goods that patients are prohibited from having in their possession because such materials, articles or goods present a risk to safety and security in the facility. (Welf. & Inst. Code, 7295, subd. (i); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 9, 881, subd. (e).)

B. Items restricted to use only under supervision or control may be considered contraband for the purposes of this list, as they should not be in patient's possession without supervision. All items that are illegal to possess are by default considered to be contraband, whether specifically contained in this list or not. This includes any items prohibited as a condition of parole as it applies to any patient on active parole while housed in a DSH facility.

Statewide Contraband List

Visiting Hours

Visits from relatives and friends are an important part of the Patient’s therapeutic progress. No authorized visit will be denied unless such a visit is considered therapeutically harmful. All Patients retain the right to decline visits from anyone.

Visiting hours in Programs I, II and VI are 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. daily. Out-of-state visitors, those who have traveled a considerable distance or demonstrate special circ*mstances, may be permitted to visit outside regular visiting hours.

Visiting hours in Penal Code Programs III and V are 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. daily. These hours and visitations are subject to additional restrictions. It is recommended that visitors review current visiting policy with program staff prior to their visit.

Minors visiting Patients must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for the supervision of the minor.

It is recommended that advance notice be given when planning a visit to ensure the Patient is available (not in clinics, groups, etc.) and prepared for visitors.

The hospital is handicapped accessible.


Metropolitan State Hospital is a tobacco free facility. No use of tobacco in any form is allowed on the hospital grounds.


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California Department of State Hospitals (2024)


What is the California Department of State Hospitals? ›

The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) manages the California state hospital system, which provides mental health services to patients admitted into DSH facilities. The department strives to provide effective treatment in a safe environment and in a fiscally responsible manner.

How many California state hospitals are there? ›

DSH oversees five state hospitals – Atascadero, Coalinga, Metropolitan (in Los Angeles County), Napa and Patton.

Who regulates hospitals in California? ›

The California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) is governed by statutes (state laws) that were passed by the California Legislature. Those statutes give DSH the authority to promulgate regulations.

When did California close its mental hospitals? ›

The reason the mental health system is broken is the closure of state mental health hospitals starting in 1967, which was overseen by Gov. Ronald Reagan. The promise was that we would get smaller, community-based facilities, but those were not built.

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