Crisis in the Emergency Department: Removing Barriers to Timely and Appropriate Mental Health Treatment (2015)
A report prepared by the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society
The system of mental health care is fundamentally broken in Sacramento County. Every month over 1,600 children and adults experiencing a mental health crisis end up in one of the Sacramento region’s hospital emergency departments (ED) – a number that continues to rise. These patients are frequently “boarded” in the ED, oftentimes for days, until inpatient psychiatric beds become available and the transfer process is completed. This influx of patients has strained the region’s EDs, resulting in extended wait times for patients experiencing medical and/or psychiatric emergencies. This process results in the delivery of suboptimal quality of care for patients, ED overcrowding, as well as increased lengths of stay and higher risks of adverse outcomes for all ED patients.
Bearing witness to these worsening trends, SSVMS has developed the white paper, Crisis in the Emergency Department: Removing Barriers to Timely and Appropriate Mental Health Treatment, with the goal of assessing the historical events leading up to this mental healthcare delivery crisis.
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