The purpose of this study was to measure the number, duration, and reasons for delays in discharging behavioral health patients in 29 emergency departments in Maryland. Findings include:
Rate of emergency department delays
- 42% of behavioral health patients treated during the study experienced a discharge or transfer delay.
- These delays accounted for 48% of the time behavioral health patients spent in the ER.
- Patients under age 18 tended to have delays twice as long as those age 18 and over.
Top reasons for emergency department delays
- 45% experienced delays waiting for a bed space in a placement setting
- 28% experienced a delay due to waiting for a placement setting to accept, process, or deny a referral