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Higher rate of ED visits in mental illness patients explained

from Medscape (free login required)

Individuals with mental health diagnoses make 25 percent more visits to the emergency department than those without mental illness; increases in frequency correspond to illness severity, new research shows. Investigators analyzed data on more than 3.5 million individuals. These persons accounted for more than 7 million ED visits. The investigators found that patients with mental illnesses visited the ED more frequently and that the increase correlated with illness severity, prior patient visit patterns, previous hospitalization and high rates of lagged ED visits. "I believe patients would benefit from enhanced community and ED-based mental health treatment options, improved physical and mental health integration, and programs that address their health-related social needs," said Hemal Kanzaria, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. more

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