emergency department

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new sobering center opens next month at a homeless shelter in Providence. It’s a place where inebriated people who would typically be brought to the emergency room can safely sober up. It's meant to save money and guide those patients toward recovery.

Aaron Read / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider a suite of bills Tuesday aimed at fighting opioid addiction and overdose. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More than 1,000 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses in the past five years. Many more have been revived, thanks to first responders and emergency room workers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Brown University’s medical school has teamed up with Rhode Island Hospital to teach future doctors how to address opioid addiction and overdose. They’re using a nearly $1million federal dollar grant to create a new curriculum.

And the need could not be more urgent. Just last week the Centers for Disease Control reported that half a million Americans have died from accidental drug overdoses in the past 15 years, mostly involving prescription painkillers and increasingly heroin.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

On this Thanksgiving day, most Rhode Islanders are enjoying a big meal and time with family and friends. But there’s no time off for the state’s emergency departments – ready around the clock to treat whatever comes their way. 

Rhode Island Hospital emergency department director Dr. David Portelli says that’s usually kitchen accidents, and the results of overindulgence. “When we do look at the numbers, we do see there’s more lacerations – about three times as many by percent – and some more episodes of congestive heart failure.”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Plans to establish a center where people can go to sober up, instead of the emergency room, have languished for lack of state funding. But a renewed effort to launch the program is underway.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A six-month-old program to help overdose survivors get connected with addiction treatment is getting some results, according to the state’s behavioral health agency. The program puts recovery coaches on call in emergency rooms throughout Rhode Island to reach out to survivors before they’re sent home.

The recovery coaches are trained peer counselors, in recovery from addiction themselves. They try to link overdose survivors with addiction treatment, and educate them about preventing another overdose.

A new program aims to connect people who have accidentally overdosed on opioids with addiction treatment – before they leave the emergency room. The state’s largest nonprofit mental health service organization, The Providence Center, is providing what it calls “recovery coaches” to Kent Hospital through a program called AnchorED.

Fatima Hospital is now posting on its web site the approximate wait time to be seen in the emergency room. But lots of factors could change that wait time.

Another study seems to suggest that, contrary to previous assumptions, it does.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have just published the results of a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that looked at all emergency department visits at 69 hospitals between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2009. In 2006, Massachusetts expanded access to health insurance to nearly everyone in the state.

Rhode Island Hospital and the entire Lifespan network have announced new guidelines for prescribing painkillers in their emergency rooms. ER doctors are trying to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

The Waiting Room project

Last night I watched the beautifully crafted documentary "The Waiting Room." It captures 24 hours in a single hospital's waiting room, following the stories of a diverse cast of patients and staff. There's no narration except how the characters tell their own stories and how those weave into the larger story this documentary tells.

The Providence Center has received a $1.7 million dollar federal grant to try to help people with mental health problems avoid the emergency room.  The program could help hospitals, and the state, slash some of the most expensive medical bills.      

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Perhaps you remember hearing or reading about a plan to divert so-called "frequent fliers" - meaning frequently intoxicated emergency room users - from ERs to some kind of sobering center?