The Tragedy of ER as Primary Care

In the same vein as their recent article on Kendra’s Law, The New York Times published an editorial by Dr. Christine Montross about the great personal and economic costs that result when individuals’ only mental health service option is the emergency room. It is an honest, reasonable argument for how greater access to long-term outpatient care will benefit the American taxpayer as much as those receiving treatment.

To pull some quotes:

“[A] single hospital admission… — paid for by the taxpayer-financed state medical-assistance program — costs more than a year of private outpatient care would. Our failure to provide adequate psychiatric care to patients before they are in crisis affects us all…. Until accessible, affordable mental-health care is a universal right, too many psychiatric patients will continue to receive the reactionary, crisis-driven care that is all our emergency rooms are equipped to provide.”

Read the full story.


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