The Psychiatrist Shortage Isn’t Going Away. What Can Psychiatrists Do to Help?

The Psychiatrist Shortage Isn't Going Away. What Can Psychiatrists Do to Help?

The Psychiatrist Shortage Isn’t Going Away. What Can Psychiatrists Do to Help?

Psychiatrists are in short supply everywhere, and the lack of these highly skilled health professionals is particularly severe.

Many of the issues that drive the general physician shortage contribute to the lack of psychiatrists including an aging workforce and physician burnout due to COVID-19.

There’s also a problem with the distribution of psychiatrists across the country. Along with a general shortage, psychiatrists are concentrated in specific areas, leaving a large number of counties in the U.S. without a psychiatrist at all.

And while there’s a reduced stigma today around mental health – media attention on the benefits of mental health care, and more affordable care have all contributed to an increased call for psychiatric intervention. The demand is exceeding the supply, while federal spending on mental health services is essentially flat.

What Can Be Done to Address the Shortage?

With any shortage comes opportunity and in the case of psychiatrists, they’re now the second most highly recruited physicians after family practitioners. Here’s what psychiatrists can do right now to get things back on track:

Consider Taking on Rural Locum Tenens Assignments

Rural areas are especially hard hit – with some people struggling to find a psychiatrist within a reasonable distance from their home.  One way current mental health practitioners can help overcome this shortfall is to consider taking on rural locum tenens assignments. This is a particularly beneficial method of providing mental health care in rural areas where full-time practitioners may be more difficult to attract.

Rural locum assignments can often be very beneficial for the practitioner. These assignments can stretch anywhere from one or two months to upwards of a year. And along with the flexibility and enhanced work/life balance locum tenens positions offer, psychiatrists choosing this path often make a higher hourly rate than full-time employees. In addition, locums are taxed as an independent contractor or a corporation – enabling certain tax deductions that a salaried employee can’t claim.

Lastly, locum psychiatry jobs are available throughout the U.S., with a wide-range of practice settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, veteran facilities, Indian Health Services, correctional sites, and private practices.

Consider Telepsychiatry After Hours

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) supports the use of telemedicine to deliver care remotely and to underserved communities. CMS defines telemedicine as the delivery of healthcare services through real-time interactive videoconferencing.

For mental health practitioners, telepsychiatry after clinical hours or during weekends is an excellent method for extending the reach to people lacking local psychiatric care. According to the American Psychiatry Association, there’s strong evidence that telepsychiatry can lead to improved outcomes and high client satisfaction ratings. They also state that telepsychiatry is equivalent to in-person care in terms of the accuracy of diagnosis, effectiveness of treatment, and quality of care

Working a few hours on your “off days” or after your shift can not only help put a dent in the current shortage but also provides some extra cash. So if this sounds interesting, take a few minutes to learn more about starting a telepsychiatry practice.

Contact Our Team at Annashae Today

At Annashae, we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short and long-term positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.