Mental health emergency department visits outpace non-psychiatric episodes

From Healthcare Finance News:

Mental and behavioral health issues, including drug addiction, are becoming a major focus for healthcare providers and payers as a new study show patients needing psychiatric services are filling emergency rooms.

Hospitals often don’t have the beds or the professional expertise to treat patients needing psychiatric care, according to a study released Monday during a conference of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Three-quarters of emergency physicians responding to a poll of more than 1,700 ER physicians reported seeing patients at least once a shift who required hospitalization for psychiatric treatment. One-quarter, 21 percent, said they had patients waiting two to five days in the ER for inpatient beds.

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