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Sunday, January 12, 2014

E.R. Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way

By Julie Creswell
The New York Times
Originally published December 25, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

Today, North Carolina has only eight beds in state psychiatric hospitals per 100,000 people, the lowest ratio in the country.(North Carolina, like other states, has added beds in local community facilities but, even then, its total beds are down a quarter since 2001.)

Uninsured patients rarely receive individual therapy, only group sessions. And it can take up to three months to see a psychiatrist.

“Now, we are seeing some of the most acute, the most aggressive and the most chronic mental health patients, and we’re holding them longer,” said Janice Frohman, the director of WakeMed’s emergency department.

The effects of the upheaval in care of the mentally ill is playing out vividly at WakeMed. A private, nonprofit organization with 884 beds, WakeMed is struggling to find a way to meet the needs of increasing numbers of mentally ill patients while also controlling costs.

The entire article is here.
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