MN psych patients lack outpatient care, use beds

A new study by three St. Paul hospitals has found that the area's facilities could treat 2,733 more psych patients per year if mental health patients had adequate outpatient treatment options. The study, backed by United Hospital, Regions Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital, tracked psych bed usage at 10 Twin Cities hospitals during fall 2006. The study found that roughly 40 to 50 patients were admitted needlessly during that period, largely because they needed mental health services that they couldn't get as an outpatient. Meanwhile, 250 patients spent extra time on psych wards because the hospital had nowhere appropriate to send them for outpatient care. Based on these numbers, the three hospitals projected that the area spends $24 million each year on unnecessary inpatient care.

To get more details on the research:
- read this St. Paul Pioneer Press piece