Surplus eyed to address psychiatric boarding crisis
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Lawmakers are considering a proposal to encourage construction of hospital psychiatric units to address what the Democratic sponsor calls a “festering wound” in New Hampshire: mental health patients languishing in emergency rooms. But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said spending the state surplus is the wrong approach.
The average number of adults waiting in emergency departments for inpatient psychiatric admission each day has quadrupled to more than 40 in the last six years, according to the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That number has spiked to 70 several times, and while numbers are lower for children, one day in May 2017 saw nearly 30 children waiting for beds, the group’s director, Ken Norton, told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.