Download Psychiatrists Treating Medicare Patients with Mental Health Nurse Practitioners – Harvard Press


of Mental health system A new study led by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that there is an increased reliance on psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) to meet the psychiatric needs of Medicare patients.

“We were surprised by the extent to which PMHNPs are mental health medications in parts of the country,” said the corresponding author. Michael BarnettAssociate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan School. “In states where PMHNPs have no restrictions on prescribing medications, these providers account for 50% of mental health professional visits in rural areas, which was higher than we expected.”

of Research Published in the September 2022 issue of Health Affairs.

Mental health Access is a public health crisis Covid-19 The epidemic worsened. At a time when the demand for mental health treatment is increasing dramatically, the supply of psychiatrists who accept insurance coverage is decreasing, especially in rural areas.

Barnett and colleagues analyzed fee-for-service Medicare claims for 2011-2019 to assess how mental health staff and patient populations have changed over time. The group focused on the number of PMHNPs and psychiatrists who pay Medicare, outpatient and psychiatric services by provider group, and how these numbers vary by country and practice laws, which may limit PMHNPs’ ability to prescribe medications. .

The findings show that PMHNPs accounted for nearly 1 in 3 mental health professional visits to Medicare patients in 2019. The number of PMHNPs increased by 162 percent from 2011-2019, while psychiatrists decreased Medicare by 6 percent. During this period, without the growth of the PMHNP workforce, there would have been a nearly 30% decline in mental health specialist visits in Medicare. Instead, the discount was 12 percent.

“This work places PMHNPs as a vital part of the mental health workforce,” Barnett said. A PMHNP workforce-targeted policy can be a key component in national efforts to expand access to mental health.

Co-author Arno Kai is also from the Harvard Chan School.

– Nicole Rura

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