Research Confirms What I Already Said.

Using mostly anecdotal evidence from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, I previously reported that part of the reason emergency departments (EDs) get backed up is because they are flooded with patients suffering from drug addiction and psychiatric disorders.

Today, FierceHealthcare reported that research confirms my blog post is true. One out of every eight ED visits in 2007 was related to a mental health and/or substance abuse condition (MHSA), according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The report also found that patients with MHSA-related conditions had a hospital admission rate over two and a half times the rate for other ED patients. Because there are fewer and fewer resources available to patients who require further psychiatric care, those patients usually spend twice as long in the ED waiting to be admitted to an in-patient facility, than patients with other conditions.

While those patients wait for further treatment, they drain hospital resources as EDs try to do the job of a psychiatric care facility. The butterfly effect at its finest.

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3 thoughts on “Research Confirms What I Already Said.

  1. Why are ther “fewer and fewer resources for psychiatric care”? Is it less well-funded? Or are fewer medical professionals choosing this field? The demand is certainly there….

  2. states (and maybe the feds) are cutting funding for psych facilities…it is reaching crisis stage and will continue!!!
    I work in NH and MA and facilities are shutting down all over and services are drying up…this is a real problem….

  3. I’m a hospital administrator in South Carolina (Columbia). Our state has eroded funding for inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services dramatically over the years. Patients have waited (in a room with a bed at least) over a month for an inpatient bed in a state psychiatric hospital. The problem is money and “the system”. If you have insurance or a family with money you don’t wait. You get a quick referal to a private facility. Society is proving year after year that we don’t want to fund this problem. The “haves” don’t experience any problem. The “have not$” don’t have a political voice. I don’t see any real change around the corner. The impact to the nation’s hospital Emergency Departments is severe. The patients clearly require additional resources often in locked/secured units. Most ER’s simply don’t have the space/layout to care for these patients safely. It is a national challenge that is with us for the long-term.

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