PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A task force in Rhode Island says the state must find an alternative to emergency rooms for people struggling with acute mental illness and substance abuse.
The Senate Commission on Emergency Department Diversion says mental health cases strain hospital resources, increase Medicaid costs for taxpayers and often leave patients without the care they need.
In its final report, the commission says the state should work with mental health facilities to ensure they can accept patients that otherwise would go to emergency rooms.
The commission also recommends changing a regulation that requires ambulances to take intoxicated patients to emergency rooms and not mental health facilities.
The Rhode Island Medicaid program reports spending $52 million on emergency department expenses in 2008.Tags: