Mentally ill face extra-long ER waits

USA Today, June 17, 2008
Psychiatric patients who need hospitalization wait for hours in emergency departments for admission because hospitals are dropping mental health units and beds are scarce, according to a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Nearly 80% of hospitals said mentally ill patients sometimes wait four hours or more to be admitted, and about 10% said patients wait more than a day on average. Average admission times for non-psychiatric patients were shorter, and 84% of the medical directors said ER wait times for all patients would drop if their hospitals had better psychiatric services.

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