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Posts Tagged ‘lack of psychiatrists’

Following a CQ HealthBeat story, Shirley S. Wang wrote in the Wall Street Journal (4/14) Health Blog that “two-thirds of primary-care physicians in a nationwide survey said they had trouble finding high-quality mental-health treatment for their patients, while only a third had difficulty getting patients a referral to specialists for other types of medical services, according to a study published in Health Affairs” on Apr. 14. The physicians attributed “absent or inadequate insurance coverage and a lack of mental-health providers” as some of the “top reasons” for “the difficulty in getting high-quality mental-health referrals for patients.” Study author Paul Cunningham, of the Center for Studying Health System Change, said that “from the perspective of primary-care physicians, ‘the findings from this study strong suggest that lack of access to mental health services is a serious problem — much more serious than for other commonly used medical services.'”
        Focusing on the study’s methodology, Modern Healthcare (4/15, Zigmond) explains, “Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the study included a nationally representative sample of about 6,600 nonfederal physicians who spend at least 20 hours per week in patient care.” The “interviews were conducted by telephone, and the final response rate was 52 percent for a total of about 2,900 primary-care physicians in family medicine, general internal medicine, and pediatrics.”

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CQ Healthbeat (4/14, Adams) reports that, according to a study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change and published in the journal Health Affairs, “two-thirds of primary-care physicians told researchers they could not get mental healthcare for their patients.” Specifically, “patients had far more problems getting mental-health services than they did getting other kinds of medical care, including specialty care.” Reasons for that finding include “inadequate health coverage, insurance barriers, or an ability to find a provider that would care for the patients, according to the survey of 6,600 physicians in 60 communities, conducted in 2004 and 2005.” In the case of children, “pediatricians were more likely to report problems,” with the “main obstacles in getting mental healthcare for children” being “a shortage of providers and health plan barriers.” The study authors also said that “physicians might be experiencing more problems now than when the survey was conducted in 2004 and 2005,” possibly due to the recession, which is pressuring “localities and states…to reduce expenditures on mental-health programs.”

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