News Headlines Article

ERs struggle to divert psychiatric patients

Lack of support for mental health services continues to adversely affect hospitals, with Minnesota emergency departments increasingly forced to act as holding cells for patients who pose a threat to both healthcare workers and other patients, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Officials at two of Minnesota’s biggest health systems, Essentia Health and Allina Health, say they have been forced to turn ambulances away due to bed overcrowding. Providers have diverted emergency patients to as far away as Fargo, North Dakota, according to the article. Meanwhile, Detroit Lakes’ St. Mary’s Hospital is constructing its second “safe room,” which has no furniture except a stretcher bolted to the floor, to house ER patients who may be a danger to themselves. Across the state, caring for mentally ill patients has become the top issue for private hospitals, Matt Anderson, a senior vice president at the Minnesota Hospital Association, told the publication.