The CPNP Board and Government Affairs Council have identified policy priorities which reflect the identity of our organization, help us work on behalf of our patients, serve our members’ interests, and create an action plan for best targeted impact. The issue briefs below support these policy priorities.

Addressing Gaps in the Treatment of Opioid and Substance Use Disorders

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This issue brief describes the challenges the country faces in addressing the opioid epidemic and Substance Use Disorders and the role psychiatric pharmacists can play in optimizing and expanding treatment options. The issue brief describes how psychiatric pharmacists are a severely underutilized resource. The brief notes that despite the significant value and expertise provided by psychiatric pharmacists in the prevention and treatment of SUDs, federal policies remain a barrier to practice within integrated healthcare teams. Policy recommendations within the brief encourage removal of the barriers to prevent psychiatric pharmacists from prescribing opioid addiction treatments and recognizing clinical pharmacists as providers by allowing Medicare to reimburse pharmacists for providing Part B services, which would otherwise be provided by a physician, NP or PA.

Increasing Access to Mental Health Care

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This Issue Brief confronts the challenge of obtaining timely psychiatric care and services due to the shortage of mental health providers across the nation. Patients with serious mental illness experience shorter life expectancies due to multiple co-occurring health conditions and their inability to navigate the health care system. These patients deserve the high-quality, evidence-based, measurement-driven, comprehensive care that psychiatric pharmacists can provide as an integral member of interprofessional teams. Patients cared for by an interdisciplinary team including psychiatric pharmacists, can benefit from a unique skill set that complements other members of the interprofessional team, including physicians, behavioral health providers, and nurses.

The Role of Psychiatric Pharmacists

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This Issue Brief addresses the growing demand for mental health services by urging integration of psychiatric pharmacists, an underutilized resource. The mental health care system can better meet demand by utilizing psychiatric pharmacists as members of the treatment team in managing medications for patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders, as the authoritative experts on the optimal use of medications and patient care, and as indispensable resources for patients, physicians, and non-physician health care professionals in both inpatient and outpatient settings.