Mental Health Encounters in Critical Access Hospital Emergency Rooms: A National Survey


Investigates the extent and types of cases that present with mental health problems in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) emergency rooms (ERs), as well as the resources available to ER staff for addressing such problems and what actually happens to such patients. Emergency department managers in a random sample of 422 CAHs in 44 states completed a telephone survey (response rate = 84.7%) responding to questions about prevalence of mental health problems in their ER and what options they had for responding to such problems. On average, CAHs had 99 emergency room visits per week. Of these visits, 9.4% were mental health related. CAH ERs play a significant role in providing mental health services to rural residents. Although nearly 20% of mental health encounters result in transfers to other facilities, over 40% of mental health problems are addressed on-site through treatment or referrals. Nearly half (43%) of CAH ER managers reported having no access to local mental health providers of any kind.

Maine Rural Health Research Center
David Hartley, Erika Ziller, Stephenie Loux, John Gale, David Lambert, Anush Yousefian