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Behavioral Care in America: the Crisis Continues

Posted by Anonymous at 3/13/2017 7:34:34 AM


Exploring Challenges in Behavioral Health and Psychiatry

Behavorial Care in America the Crisis Continues

By Phillip Miller


In March of this year, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put out a statistical brief likely to cause consternation among providers of behavioral health services.

According to the brief, emergency department visits by adults with suicidal thoughts more than doubled from 2006 to 2013. On average, these visits rose by 12% each year over the seven year period.

By 2013, 1% of all adult ED visits were related to suicidal thoughts, up from 0.4% in 2013. In 2013, over 71% of ED visits linked to suicidal thoughts resulted in a hospital admission, compared to 19% of all other types of ED visits. The average length of stay for suicidal patients increased from 5.1 days to 5.6 days. The cost of these visits and subsequent hospitalizations rose from $600 million in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2013.

These alarming statistics are yet another manifestation of the burgeoning crisis in behavioral care that is challenging healthcare providers nationwide. Another sign of the crisis is the rapid rise in demand for psychiatrists and other behavioral health professionals.

In 2016, psychiatry was Merritt Hawkins’ second most requested search assignment, trailing only family practice on the list of most in-demand medical specialties. This was the first time psychiatry has ranked so high. Ten years ago, psychiatry was 10th on the list.

There are a variety of reasons why behavioral health challenges continue to be so pressing. These reasons are explored in a Merritt Hawkins’ white paper entitled, Psychiatry: The Silent Shortage. The white paper both examines trends in the supply and demand for psychiatrists and discusses recruiting challenges in psychiatry. Merritt Hawkins also speaks on this subject before healthcare professional groups, most recently at a meeting of over 200 facility administrators held by hospital management company Universal Health Services on March 15.

I would be happy to forward a copy of the white paper to readers and I would welcome any comments you have about the current state of behavioral care in America.

Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications with Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s leading physician search firm and a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AMN). He can be reached here.

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I am part of a practice transformation network, under the CMS grant for Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative. Our network has a large number of behavioral health organizations that are struggling with maintaining psychiatrist. We are looking at expanding care model by introducing more advance nurses and this article caught my attention.
Posted by: Griselda Kovrig at 3/23/2017 11:16:16 AM

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