Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Minnesota has a shortage of psychiatric beds but keeps patients in them too long, study says

A study in Minnesota found that 19 percent of the state's mental-health beds are used by patients who could have been treated in a different setting, reports the Minnesota Hospital Association, which commissioned the study by the Wilder Foundation. Conducted from March 15 to April 30, the study of 20 hospital —half of them in rural areas—found that "of the 32,520 total mental-health bed days in all participating hospitals, 6,052 were identified as potentially avoidable." That translates to approximately 48,000 potentially avoidable days in a year.

Nationwide, the number of psychiatric beds has dropped 13 percent since 2010, reports Michael Ollove for Stateline. The number of psychiatric beds in Minnesota dropped from 206 to 194 during that time. That's an average of 3.5 beds per every 100,000 residents, the second lowest total in the nation, behind Iowa, which has 2 beds per every 100,000 residents. The national average is 11.7 beds per every 100,000 residents.

The study found that "64 percent of potentially avoidable days occurred due to lack of space in a state-run mental health hospital, residential treatment center, nursing home, group home, chemical dependency treatment service or other setting," the Minnesota Hospital Association says. "Thirty percent of potentially avoidable days occurred due to social service or government agency delays, including identifying an appropriate treatment location for a patient, completing agency approvals or other administrative processes or resolving legal proceedings involving the patient." (Read more)

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