The need for an increased national effort for early identification and intervention of mental-health or substance-abuse problems is highlighted in a new Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report finding that almost one-fourth of all stays in U.S. community hospitals for patients 18 and older involved depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, substance-use or other related mental-health disorders in 2004.
These problems accounted for 7.6 million of the nearly 32 million community hospital stays in 2004, the report found, with nearly two-thirds of the cost being carried by the government. Medicare covered almost 50%, and Medicaid paid for 18%. About 8% of these patients were uninsured, and the report stated that one-third of stays for uninsured patients were related to mental-health or substance-abuse disorders.
For patients hospitalized with these conditions, women were most frequently admitted for mood disorders, while men were admitted for substance abuse. Patients age 80 and older accounted for just more than 20% of mental-health and substance-abuse hospital stays, with dementia being the principal cause for admittance.
Almost 179,000 hospital stays were linked to suicide attempts in 2004, and 93% involved a mental-health condition. Nearly 75% of these patients were between the ages of 18 and 44, and more than half were women, the report found. -- by Andis Robeznieks