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State committee addressing emergency room overcrowding

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

State committee addressing emergency room overcrowding

By Spencer Lubitz. CREATED Mar 25, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Hospital administrators said an influx of patients with mental health issues is taking-up beds and could prevent residents with medical emergencies from getting emergency room treatment.

But now, a state committee is currently coming up with ideas to divert mental patients away from hospital emergency rooms.

"We have people sitting in the valley emergency departments, waiting to see a physician, waiting to be evaluated, and the beds are taken up by people who do not have a medical problem but have  mental problem," said UMC Chief of Staff Dale Carrison. "That's the impact on the community, and it needs to be addressed."

One popular suggestion would be to establish mental health triage centers to divert patients from emergency rooms, but building and staffing those centers would cost millions of taxpayer dollars.

The mental health subcommittee will continue meeting, presenting their findings to lawmakers ahead of the 2015 Legislative Session.

Committee members said they're optimistic the mental health system can be changed.

Spencer Lubitz

Spencer Lubitz

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Spencer Lubitz is a general assignment reporter for Action News.