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Fewer psychiatric patients waiting in emergency rooms

July 25, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s recent efforts to reduce the number of patients waiting for days or sometimes weeks in emergency rooms for inpatient psychiatric care appear to be paying off.

Data compiled by the state’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness show a steady drop in the number of such patients over the last six months. Between January and July, the daily average was 35 people, down from 49 for the same period last year. The highest daily total was in September 2017, when 72 people were waiting for beds.

Bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the problem passed that year, and lawmakers built on it this session with funding for mobile crisis teams, designated receiving beds for patients in mental health crises and supported housing for those leaving the state mental health hospital.

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