Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another recent case of patient w/ mental health problems waiting 5 days for bed:Community Hospital beds are not in place

excellent article from the Greensboro News & Record about another case of a person w/ mental health concerns being handcuffed to his bed for 5+ days re: no available beds.

Let's see: sheriff's fees (let's be modest: $10/ hour x 5 day$10 which is 24 x 5 x $10 = $1200. Don't forget the ER fee where money bleeds: let's assume a modest $500/ day which is $2500 for taking up a room in the local ER. That makes (very modestly assumed cost of): $3700.

It would be great if the news services could come up w/ the bill based on the cost of the ER room and the sheriff's fees.

If you do this again and again, its easy to see that its short-sited to have sheriff's sitting around in ER's w/ chained up patients----like something out of the Dark Ages-----


"...A committee of state legislators Thursday recommended a minimum 25 percent slash in the human services budget. The proposals, if enacted, include cuts that mental health officials say would deepen the crisis.

“We will have more (mentally ill) people in the emergency departments,” warned Michael Lancaster, chief of clinical policy for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.....

“This is just going to exacerbate the situation. We’re not going to be able to fund Mobile Crisis Teams, the ACT Teams,” Lancaster said of the community support programs potentially jeopardized by the health subcommittee’s cuts....

Though Pyrtle declined to give specifics about the 96-hour ER guard duty, he was no doubt referring to a commitment order served in early April on a young Eden man awaiting transfer at Morehead General Hospital.

Schizophrenic and off his medication, he needed treatment at a state hospital, but there were no beds available. As with the Cone patient, he was handcuffed to his bed under police guard.....

During the time the young man in Eden was waiting for hospital admission, the same pattern was being repeated elsewhere in the state.

According to an April patient delay list obtained by the News & Record for Cherry Hospital, a 274-bed facility in Goldsboro, admission wait times ran from four to 92 hours.....

Meanwhile, at Central Regional, which serves the Piedmont, 299 people could not be admitted during April, according to the HHS Web site, because the hospital was at capacity and operating on delay status.

Why the crunch?

The ostensible goal of mental health reform was to close the big state hospitals except for the most ill people and replace them with services in people’s home counties.

Toward the first goal, the state has eliminated 100 beds since 2007 and, in the governor’s proposed budget, would eliminate another 50 beds between Cherry and Broughton state hospitals.

The problem is that the community beds are not in place to meet the need — putting the cart before the horse and now overloading the cart.

“We’re now bringing people from all over the state to one hospital that was overcrowded by the time it was built,” Mike Weaver, Guilford chapter president of the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, said of Central Regional, which opened last summer.

“The services in the community are not adequate, and there are not enough hospital beds. They blew it.”


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