Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Public Versus Private Beds

Some officials defend the emptying of public psychiatric hospitals by pointing to the increase of psychiatric beds in general hospitals. However, as pointed out by the Treatment Advocacy Center’s recent study The Shortage of Public Hospital Bed for Mentally Ill Persons, eighty one percent (81%) of the psychiatric beds in general hospitals are in private versus public hospitals.

According to KRIS TV of Corpus Christi, Texas, the night before Khandi Busby recently threw her two sons off a bridge and jumped herself, relatives sought treatment for her at a local psychiatric hospital. Busby suffered from bipolar disorder, had stopped taking her medications, and was engaging in odd behavior. However, the hospital refused to admit her because she did not have proper insurance coverage.

This is one more reason why states like Texas must take steps to address their severe shortage of public psychiatric hospital beds.