Vermont Sees Growing Hospital ER Use for Psychiatry

Sep 11, 2012

The number of mentally ill Vermonters being held in hospital emergency rooms for lack of a mental health bed is heading in the wrong direction.

That's the word from Mental Health Commissioner Patrick Flood. Flood tells a legislative committee that instances in which mental health beds weren't available and patients were held in hospital emergency rooms grew from 15 in June to 22 in July and 24 in August.

Representatives with stakeholder groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness tell the Legislature's Joint Mental Health Oversight Committee that they're encouraged by efforts to retool Vermont's mental health system, but that more work needs to be done.

That retooling got a big impetus last year when flooding from Tropical Storm Irene forced the closing of the state hospital in Waterbury.

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