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 that applause broke out  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.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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