The New Hampshire Senate has given preliminary approval to a plan to significantly increase the number of psychiatric treatment beds in the state.
The plan the Senate sent to its Finance Committee on Thursday would require the state to contract with private hospitals and nonprofit facilities to set up 68 new beds. Twenty would be for those subject to involuntary admission, 40 would be community-based beds to help people transition from hospitalization and eight would be peer respite beds.
As the number of treatment beds has dropped due to budget cuts, a workforce shortage and other factors, the number of people waiting, sometimes in emergency room corridors, for beds at the state psychiatric hospital has increased. In March, the daily average was 46 adults and four children.