Butler Hospital Facing increase in patients

Reporting by Liz Tufts

Butler psychiatric hospital in Providence is facing a dilemma: beds are filling up so fast, officials are trying to keep up with the high demand for services.

And they say the need for care, as we head into the winter months. is only going to increase.
Butler hospital in Providence is the only private psychiatric hospital for adults in the state and for the first time in its 160 year history it’s facing a shortage.

“The hospital opened in 1844 and last month in August. we hit 194 patients and that’s the highest census the hospital has ever had,” hospital president Lawrence Price said.

The hospital has 190 beds, but on a few days in August they had 194 patients. “We don’t turn them away,” Price added.

Today they’re almost to capacity with 179 admissions. Rhode Island has the one of the highest rates of psychiatric problems in the country.

Butler’s acting president Lawrence Price says the sudden jump of people seeking help could be based on a number of reasons, mainly the affordable care act. Under the new law mental health treatment must now be covered by medicaid.

Another factor? Price says the overdose epidemic that hit southern New England this year.

“I think people and family are realizing that this is a serious condition and they should get help for their opiate addiction.

Whatever the reason is Price says the influx in patients is actually a good thing: Meaning more and more people aren’t afraid to get the help they need.

“The idea that people have finally started to get help because they don’t feel intimidated and they are not afraid and they feel they can finally afford to get this help, is a good thing.