Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Ray Keller, medical director of the Emergency Department at the University of Vermont, Fletcher-Allen Healthcare / Emily McManamy for USA TODAY

Across the country, it's getting harder to find a psychiatric hospital bed for patients in crisis, doctors and advocates say.

States have been reducing hospital beds for decades, because of insurance pressures as well as a desire to provide more care outside institutions. Tight budgets during the recession forced some of the most devastating cuts in recent memory, says Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

States cut $5 billion in mental health services from 2009 to 2012. In the same period, the country eliminated at least 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds - nearly 10% of the total supply, he says.

Though not all people with mental illness need to be hospitalized, doctors say there aren't enough beds for those in crisis, who need the equivalent of a psychiatric intensive care unit.

In 1995, there were 7.9 million seriously mentally ill adults and 160,645 available hospital beds for those patients. In 2012, there were 108,317 beds for 9.6 million people.

The number of beds available to patients who need intense psychiatric care for short periods fell 32.5% since 1995, according to the American Hospital Association.

The actual number of inpatient beds is even lower, because at least one-third of state psychiatric hospital beds are used for "forensic" patients, or mentally ill criminal suspects awaiting trial, according to the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center.

In some hospitals, up to 90% of inpatient beds are occupied by forensic patients or sex offenders who have completed their prison terms but have been deemed unsafe to release, Glover says.

Sources: Health Forum, AHA Annual Survey of Hospitals, 1995-2012; U.S. Census Bureau.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Psychiatric beds disappear despite growing demand

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

WED
17
THU
18
FRI
19
SAT
20
SUN
21
MON
22
TUE
23

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX