Emergency Rooms Provide Care Of Last Resort For Mentally Ill
A collaboration between NPR and Kaiser Health News describes the crippling impact for people in psychiatric crisis while they languish in emergency rooms -- sometimes for up to a week -- while budgets cut services in their local communities. []
Peer counselors support consumers in emergency rooms
. . .a service innovation []
Mood disorders accounted for 43 percent of visits to emergency rooms in 2007.
"In 2007, of the 95 million visits made to the emergency department (ED) by adults in the U.S., 12.0 million (12.5 percent) were related to MHSA," reports the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The summary appears in a press release from the here. Or download the entire report (pdf): Mental Health and Substance Abuse-Related Emergency Department Visits among Adults, 2007.... []
Cal. cuts endanger people with mental illness
"There is not enough space in this newspaper to describe the many ways in which people with mental illness are treated as second-class citizens," writes Nathan Fairman, an ER doctor, . . . []
GAO reports long waits for psychiatric crisis
People needing acute psychiatric care represent a small percentage of those seeking emergency services yet they wait longer in the emergency room and find more difficulty finding follow-up attention than people with non- psychiatric problems. According to a report released by the General Accounting Office (GAO), "on average, psychiatric patients waited in the emergency department for an inpatient bed longer than 8 hours after the decision to admit them had been made, including about 9 percent who reported that psychiatric... []
Medicaid policies limit clinically indicated drugs
The irony of trying to save Medicaid money might well result in more expensive human, medical and social costs, conclude the authors of a study of Medicaid management of medication. Medicaid drug policies, it seems, constrain access to preferred psychiatric drugs and thereby increase the likelihood of emergency room use, hospitalization or homelessness, say the authors of a new study in the May issue of Psychiatric Services. The authors base their conclusions, that drug management is based "based primarily on... []
Local mental health programs cut
Services are being curtailed for severally ill children and adults while states slash budgets. Programs slated for downsizing or closing have been reported in: A one-of-a-kind 8-bed program serving about 600 people a year closed in Boise, Idaho . For local residents needing a couple of nights of shelter, the Franklin House helped them avoid using an emergency room and/or hospitalization.The Franklin House budget ran $325,000 but observers guess ER services will cost more. Eleven of 21 clinics in rural... []
Celebrities, stigma, and re-runs
. . .an update []
Overcrowded psychiatric emergency rooms

Dr. Anthony Ng explains why overcrowded psychiatric emergency rooms have reached a crisis, and how community services can help solve it. []
Other nations surpass US in chronic care
Depression is one of the seven illnesses included in an international comparison of how nations treat chronic conditions. Authors report that the United States stands out for "gaps in coverage, and for high cost sharing even for patients with insurance" with more people suffering complex chronic health problems despite spending twice as much on health care ($7,000 per person versus $3,500 per person). Cost figured into the decision of more than half the American respondents not to seek care, and... []
Company cuts mobile services
A home visit. iStock PhotoMental health teams employed by Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health will stop offering on-call mobile services in Charleston, South Carolina, which is likely to increase use of emergency rooms where people can wait days for service. Palmetto, which was funded in the 1980s, was purchased by Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., a Tenn. corporation, in 2004. The company owns a chain of hospitals, out-patient services, and wilderness programs in 31 states, with seven facilities in South Carolina, and anticipates... []
Emergency room backup
South Carolina is experiencing a crisis in its emergency rooms. According to Charleston's Post and Courier, to address the problem attributed to a decline in long-term beds, the Mental Health Department set aside roughly $5 million toward that effort by opening 10 beds at a crisis unit in Charleston and offering a mobile crisis unit for the area. Also, the agency is providing short-term emergency housing for homeless patients and buying medicine for them to stockpile between visits. ... []

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