Hospitals have reduced the number of beds dedicated to addiction and mental health treatment as the demand for services increases during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The number of behavioral-health beds was cut sharply in New York hospitals to make room for COVID patients, the article notes. Hospitals in other states including Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas, along with Washington, D.C., also reduced services in addiction and mental health treatment.
The reduction in treatment beds comes as the pandemic has increased demand for services, addiction and mental health experts told the newspaper.
In New York, about 400 psychiatric beds and 150 addiction beds remain closed. The nonprofit Treatment Advocacy Center estimates that in New York, since March, 14,000 psychiatric admissions were lost — people who may have needed hospital treatment but couldn’t get it. “People don’t stop getting sick just because there’s nowhere to treat them,” said the group’s executive director, John Snook.