Monday, January 09, 2006

No Beds? Lots of Problems.

Psychiatric hospital after psychiatric hospital have been closed since the 1960s, in large part because of federal funding policies.

Despite the increasingly critical shortage of inpatient capacity, many mental health administrators continue to push for the elimination of more psych beds.

Take Maine’s experience with its new hospital, which replaced a much larger one that was closed. Insufficient capacity in the new hospital forced administrators to turn away 61% of qualified patients seeking admission to the facility in the first month of operation. That isn't a shortage due to changed circumstance, but rather of short-sightedness.

A lack of inpatient facilities doesn't only result in people with psychiatric illnesses ending up in jail … It can also, like in Texas, keep them there.

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