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Psych Bed Shortage Threatens Public Safety


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Regardless of what exactly happened, the incident exposed a nationwide problem: a shortage of psychiatric beds in every state, which makes psychiatric patient transfers a cumbersome, if not impossible, option. (The term "psychiatric bed" means a bed specifically located in a hospital's locked-down psychiatric unit.)

In a 2008 report Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness, found 17 public psychiatric beds per 100,000 U.S. citizens, down from 340 beds per 100,000 in 1955.

Doris Fuller, executive director of TAC, said the primary cause of the problem was the passage of The Community Health Center Act in 1963.

So this problem started fifty years ago? Wow.

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