Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that almost 44 million adults aged 18 or older, or (20% of the population) have a diagnosis of a behavioral health disorder. Many are reluctant to seek needed assistance, citing the cost, stigma and not knowing where to seek help as the main reasons, and often end up in the Emergency Room (ER) for care. The 2011 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) reported that 12.6 million ER visits, almost 10% of all patients seen, involved a primary diagnosis of a behavioral health condition or substance abuse disorder.
Similar to national trends, health care professionals across the state of Missouri have witnessed an increase in patients seeking help for behavioral disorders and substance use conditions. Oftentimes these individuals seek care in hospital emergency rooms where they are stabilized and released without being referred for the needed follow-up care, resulting in a revolving door leading back to the ER.
Missouri has responded to this trend by developing a Mental Health System sponsored Emergency Room Enhancement (ERE) Initiative. The intent of this initiative is to increase access to behavioral health care for citizens who need treatment for behavioral health conditions or substance use disorders.