Senate backs bill to examine, better fund mental health system
The Vermont Senate unanimously approved a comprehensive mental health bill Thursday that calls for increased pay for mental health workers and a broader look at how to improve the system.
The Senate endorsed the bill, S.133, in a voice vote after senators raised concerns about the number of psychiatric patients waiting in emergency rooms to get proper care. The bill could get final approval in the Senate as early as Friday before moving to the House.
At the time the bill was being discussed on the floor, the Department of Mental Health said it was aware of five adults and one adolescent waiting in emergency rooms for treatment, but that there might be more.
The University of Vermont Medical Center, which has the largest emergency room in the state, reported having five patients waiting, and it’s unclear if those are the same patients in the Department of Mental Health tally.