Nurse Practitioners Are Filling the Hole in U.S. Psychiatric Care

By By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Sept. 8, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Whereas psychological well being care has turn into a full-blown disaster in america, a brand new examine finds that psychiatric nurse practitioners are serving to to fill the hole.

The researchers found that the psychological well being system in america has turn into more and more reliant on this specific class of specialists to satisfy the wants of Medicare sufferers because the numbers of psychiatrists accepting Medicare has dropped.

“We have been stunned by the diploma to which PMHNPs [psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners] are the de facto psychological well being prescribers in elements of the nation,” mentioned corresponding examine writer Michael Barnett. He’s an affiliate professor of well being coverage and administration on the Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being, in Boston.

“Within the states the place PMHNPs haven’t any restrictions on prescribing medicines, these suppliers account for 50% of all psychological well being prescriber visits in rural areas, which was a lot better than we had anticipated,” Barnett mentioned in a Harvard information launch.

To review the difficulty, the researchers analyzed fee-for-service Medicare claims from 2011 to 2019. The staff was targeted on the variety of PMHNPs and psychiatrists who have been billing Medicare, in addition to the amount of outpatient and psychiatric providers delivered by these supplier teams. In addition they checked out how the numbers diversified by rurality and in addition by rules that may prohibit whether or not a psychiatric nurse practitioner can prescribe medicines.

The investigators discovered that in 2019, practically one in all each three psychological well being prescriber visits to Medicare sufferers have been carried out by psychiatric nurse practitioners. Psychiatrists billing Medicare dropped by 6% between 2011 and 2019, however numbers of psychiatric nurse practitioners elevated by 162%.

The researchers estimated that there would have been a 30% decline in psychological well being specialist visits amongst Medicare sufferers throughout these years with out the expansion of the psychiatric nurse practitioner workforce, however as a substitute there was a drop of solely 12%.

“This work places the highlight on PMHNPs as a essential a part of the psychological well being workforce,” Barnett mentioned. “That is so necessary as a result of we desperately want new options to handle the present psychological well being disaster on this nation. Coverage that targets the PMHNP workforce might be a key a part of the nationwide effort to develop psychological well being entry.”

The findings have been printed within the September situation of Well being Affairs.

SOURCE: Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being, information launch, Sept. 6, 2022

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