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RI HEALTH

Hasbro Children’s emergency department faces capacity constraints

Hospital officials say the current behavioral health crisis and rising COVID-19 cases are why the emergency department is backed up.

Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Hasbro Children’s Hospital is experiencing capacity constraints in its emergency department, which is resulting in long wait times for non-urgent care.

The National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale (NEDOCS) estimates severity of overcrowding in emergency departments on a scale from 1 to 200. A higher score indicates a higher congestion level.

Hasbro Children’s emergency department’s score is a 200 as of Thursday morning, said Kathleen Hart, a spokeswoman for Lifespan.

Lifespan, which is the state’s largest health system and one that operates Hasbro Children’s, credits the current behavioral health crisis and rising COVID-19 cases in the state as to why the hospital is filling up again.

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Mental health patients have been stuck in emergency rooms as they await access to treatment. Facilities have been short on in-patient psychiatric beds for several months.

Since June 2020, there have been an average of two dozen people waiting in the emergency department for inpatient behavioral health treatment daily, according to state data.

Since late March, COVID-19 cases have increased from about 115 new cases per 100,000 people per week to nearly 510 new cases per 100,000 people as of mid-May, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.