Need for Psychiatric Hospital Beds Surges in Alabama


In hospitals across the state, the lack of available beds has sent some psychiatric patients to emergency rooms, where they wait for hours to be admitted.

Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System Executive Director Dr. Joe Acker says the need is extreme.

The trend in Alabama is happening across the country as hospital administrators say the demand for psychiatric hospital beds is escalating.

Earlier this month, state regulators approved 38 additional beds for five psychiatric hospitals across the state, including Brookwood Medical Center and Gadsden Regional Medical Center far fewer than the hospitals originally sought.

Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children is set to open in August, and plans call for an additional 12 beds in a fourth-floor psychiatric unit scheduled for completion by fall 2013.

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  • by Fred Location: Geneva on Jun 18, 2012 at 10:52 AM
    This is nothing new or a situation that has just developed. I have been Probate Judge of Geneva County for over 5 years and this was a problem before I took Office. For those who do not know, your Probate Judge is the one who has to order involuntary mental committments in Alabama. I have had to have families wait because there were no rooms in our three hospitals for an evaliation; had clients to have to wait at these hospitals after an evaluation because of a lack of rooms in State Mental Hospitals after it was determined that they need further treatment; or had to wait because there were no rooms at a community facility for out-patient treatment. As I have said, this is not a new situation, but it seems like it has been ignored for years because these people lack the political clout to have a state representative or a state senator to stand up for them. I know that money is tight at all levels of government, but these people need help.
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