The House Appropriations Committee recently approved an amendment to address the national shortage of psychiatric beds for patients, according to a press release from the House of Representatives.
The amendment included language from representatives Jaime Herrera Butler and Derek Kilmer, with the language directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to present a report to the committee about how to best assist government agencies in increasing the number of inpatient hospital beds and access to medical care.
There are only 11.7 hospital beds for psychiatric use per 100,000 people, according to a report from the Treatment Advocacy Center. In Washington, only 10.2 hospital beds per 100,000 people were for psychiatric use, and 90 percent of physicians surveyed by the Treatment Advocacy Center reported that mentally ill patients were being held in emergency rooms because no other suitable facilities were available.
“We face a mental health challenge in the communities I represent,” Kilmer said in a press release. “We hear it in the stories of individuals whose struggles with mental illness keep them cycling through our local jails and emergency rooms. We see it when police and emergency responders are forced to devote more and more of their time to behavioral health problems. One of the biggest problems we face is the lack of proper beds for those in crisis. I’m proud to work with Representative Herrera Beutler to help give local governments the tools they need to tackle this problem.”