LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa.
(AP) Lehigh County health officials say they have the nation’t only the nation s highest rate at a nursing home, but the nations highest rate for patients dying of opioid overdoses, a trend that they say has gotten worse in recent years.
The Lehigh Times-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1Lq8yfX ) that Lehigh Hospital has a death rate of about 11 per 100,000 residents.
It also has the second highest overdose rate of any nursing home in the state.
The Times-tribune says Lehigh’s opioid crisis has gotten so bad that it has had to shut down its entire emergency department for the past four months.
That means nearly 1,500 of its nearly 1.3 million residents now have to wait until next month to get in touch with the hospital.
Lehigh spokeswoman Maryann Housley says it’s too early to tell whether that will be enough to address the problem, since the state is in the middle of an opioid withdrawal.