Case Management

News: ED administrators say decreased mental health funding leads to overcrowding

Case Management Weekly, December 22, 2010

A significant gap in services for mental health patients has led to emergency department (ED) overcrowding, according to a recent survey of 600 hospital ED administrators conducted by the Schumacher Group, a hospital emergency department management firm based in Lafayette, LA.

Most respondents (86%) said decreases in funding for mental health patients has made it difficult for their facilities to transfer mental health patients to inpatient facilities. The shortage of mental health beds at inpatient facilities means some facilities board mental health patients in the ED for days, sometimes more a week. More than half of the respondents (60%) said boarding mental health patients has compromised patient care.

Many respondents think that healthcare reform will only add to ED overcrowding when the newly insured turn to the ED if they can’t see a physician in a timely manner. Also, 60% of respondents said reform will cause ED patient volumes to increase, but only 5% said ED patient volumes will decrease.

Source: The Schumacher Group

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