Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | July 22, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says mental disorders and substance abuse problems result in 95,000,000 ER visits in U.S. each year.

Out of 95 million visits made to emergency rooms by adults in the U.S. in 2007, 12 million, or 12.5%, had to do with mental disorders, a substance abuse problem, or both.  Let’s break down the math:

  • Of those 12 million visits, about 66% involved patients with mental disorders,
  • About 25% involved patients with substance abuse issues and the rest involved patients who had both a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem;
  • Almost 41% of those 12 million visits resulted in the patient being admitted to the hospital,
  • which is more than 2.5 times the rate of hospitalizations for other conditions.
  • Almost 54% of the mental health/substance abuse-related visits were from women;
  • About 47% of the visits were by people age 18 to 44; and,
  • About 35% were by people age 45 to 64.

The top five conditions that made up 96% of all the mental health/substance abuse cases were (in order)

  1. mood disorders,
  2. anxiety disorders,
  3. alcohol disorders,
  4. drug disorders,
  5. schizophrenia and other psychoses, and
  6. intentional self-harm.  

Note: each and every patient treated in the ER could have multiple diagnoses.

As for how the 12 million visits were billed, 30% went to Medicare, 26% went to private insurers, 20% went to Medicaid and 21% of patients were uninsured. These findings are from a report recently put out by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.


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