Health Affairs September 14, 2022
Arno Cai, Ateev Mehrotra, Hayley D. Germack, Alisa B. Busch, Haiden A. Huskamp, and Michael L. Barnett

Abstract

The supply of psychiatrists in the United States is inadequate to address the unmet demand for mental health care. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) may fill the widening gap between supply of and demand for mental health specialists with prescribing privileges. Using Medicare claims for a 100 percent sample of fee-for-service beneficiaries (average age, sixty-one years) who had an office visit for either a psychiatrist or a PMHNP during the period 2011–19, we examined how the supply and use of psychiatrists and PMHNPs changed over time, and we compared their practice patterns. Psychiatrists and PMHNPs treated roughly comparable patient populations with similar services...

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