Vegas hospital to add beds for psych patients

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas hospital has announced plans to add a psychiatric unit as part of an effort to divert mentally ill patients from Clark County's overcrowded emergency rooms.

Valley Hospital Medical Center officials say the hospital hopes to add about 50 psychiatric beds within six months.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1hlJQGs ) that applause broke out Monday when the news came during a meeting of Gov. Brian Sandoval's Behavioral Health and Wellness Council.

Several Las Vegas hospitals were forced to turn away ambulances in February due to a high number of psychiatric patients taking up ER beds. State health director Mike Willden said about 100 more psychiatric beds were needed.

A pending proposal calls for Medicaid to reimburse hospitals $944 per day for psychiatric care, up from $460 per day.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

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