Federal Funds Proposed to Help Hospitals Handling Drug-Related Cases

Article excerpt

Legislation (S-1049) was introduced by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) to authorize $675 million in federal funds over the next three fiscal years for grants for uncompensated costs of hospital emergency departments operating in areas impacted by drug-related illness and violence.

"The national drug epidemic has taken a devastating toll on many of our nation's hospitals," said Levin. "The continuing increase in illicit drug use and its associated violence coupled with the minions of Americans who lack health insurance have combined to threaten the health care system in many of our cities."

Levin cited a study of patients treated at three Detroit emergency departments which found that the incidence of substance abuse among those admitted between two and five times over a five-year period was 67%. In patients with six or more trauma incidents, the incidence of substance abuse was 100%, according to the study by the late Dr. Brack Bivins.

"These emergency departments and trauma centers are on the frontline of the war on drugs," Levin said. …