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Home > Topics > EMS Management
January 02, 2014

N.C. medics bypass ER for mentally ill

As part of a pilot program, they're taking mentally ill patients straight to psychiatric facilities to avoid a trip to the ER

The New York Times

RALEIGH, N.C. — As darkness fell on a Friday evening over downtown Raleigh, N.C., Michael Lyons, a paramedic supervisor for Wake County Emergency Medical Services, slowly approached the tall, lanky man who was swaying back and forth in a gentle rhythm.

In answer to Mr. Lyons’s questions, the man, wearing a red shirt that dwarfed his thin frame, said he was bipolar, schizophrenic and homeless. He was looking for help because he did not think his prescribed medication was working.

In the past, paramedics would have taken the man to the closest hospital emergency room — most likely the nearby WakeMed Health and Hospitals, one of the largest centers in the region. But instead, under a pilot program, paramedics ushered him through the doors of Holly Hill Hospital, a commercial psychiatric facility.

Read full storyE.R. Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way

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