Number of Practicing Psychiatrists Falling
These findings may explain patient reports of poor access to mental health care.
HealthDay News — The number of practicing psychiatrists declined from 2003 to 2013, while the number of physicians in other disciplines grew, according to a report published in the July issue of Health Affairs.
Tara F. Bishop, MD, from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues studied changes in the supply of psychiatrists from 2003 to 2013. This change in supply was compared to changes in the supply of primary care physicians and neurologists over the same time period.
The researchers found that over the study period the number of practicing psychiatrists declined from 37 968 to 37 889. This demonstrates a 10.2% reduction in the median number of psychiatrists per 100 000 residents in hospital referral regions. Over the same time period, the numbers of primary care physicians and neurologists grew.
"Future research should explore the impact of the declining psychiatrist supply on patients and investigate new models of care that seek to integrate mental health and primary care or use team-based care that combines the services of psychiatrists and nonphysician providers for individuals with severe mental illnesses," the authors wrote.
Bishop TF, Seirup JK, Pincus HA, Ross JS. Population Of US Practicity Psychiatrists Declined, 2003-13, Which May Help Explain Poor Access To Mental Health Care. Health Aff. 2016;35(7):1271-1277. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1643.