Iowa ERs 'overwhelmed' with mental health patients

James Ellis, MD, a physician at Waterloo, Iowa-based Covenant Medical Center said emergency rooms across the state are flooded with patients seeking care for mental health issues, according to KWWL.

The volume of mental health patients in Covenant's ER is overwhelming, Dr. Ellis said.

"We are absolutely overwhelmed. We're overwhelmed as a staff. We're overwhelmed as a department. We're overwhelmed as a hospital. And the entire region is just completely overwhelmed," Dr. Ellis told KWWL.

Dr. Ellis attributes the problem to a lack of community resources addressing mental health, forcing patients into the ER. However, he also notes some patients can be violent, which poses a problem for ER facilities that are not equipped to handle these patients.

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