The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) is a professional association representing more than 2,000 psychiatric and neurologic pharmacists. As the voice of the specialty, CPNP’s mission is to advance the reach and practice of psychiatric pharmacists. CPNP’s membership consists of specialty pharmacists who are trained in mental health and addiction, pharmacology, neurology, drug-disease state interactions, and in optimizing medication adherence. Psychiatric pharmacists play an active role in the delivery of mental health services as integral members of multidisciplinary teams. Psychiatric pharmacists are employed by community/private or university hospitals; government supported hospitals (Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense); colleges of pharmacy; prison systems; federal, state, and local psychiatric, substance abuse, long-term care, and managed care facilities; and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The roles of our membership include working collaboratively as a member of an interprofessional team to optimize drug therapy; providing direct patient care; monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions; educating patients and families on psychiatric medications; teaching health care students, residents, and practitioners; and evaluating and educating others on the medical literature. CPNP leads efforts to ensure that the needs and perspectives of patients with mental illness and their families are maintained regardless of practice setting and that all patients have access to quality and safe mental health care.

For the 115th Congress 1st Session, CPNP has outlined the following priorities:

CPNP Health Policy Priorities

Promote and improve patient safety by realizing the value and role that psychiatric and pharmacists play as providers in the health care delivery system: There is currently a lack of understanding in the health care delivery model for the important role that specialty pharmacists play in the care and treatment of patients with mental illness; specifically, the role of psychiatric pharmacists. Psychiatric pharmacists are essential partners on the patient care team. Their expertise is needed on the frontlines to optimize drug treatment and patient care for patients with mental illness.

Recognize the role of psychiatric pharmacists in addressing mental health access issues: Psychiatric pharmacists play a critical role in addressing the public health challenges associated with psychiatric medications. Psychiatric pharmacists are experts in mental health and addiction and pharmacotherapy, and can provide education, expertise, and knowledge to other health care professionals within a multidisciplinary team context. Psychiatric pharmacists may contribute to health care teams by detecting and resolving or preventing drug related problems; helping to ensure the safe and effective use of prescription drugs; providing comprehensive drug information to patients and other health care professionals; promoting medication adherence; and reinforcing primary prevention and health promotion and lifestyle modification activities in the community. Psychiatric pharmacists play a key role in caring for individuals with mental illness.

Improve patient access to mental health services: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded behavioral health coverage for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, many individuals with mental illness continue to lack adequate health insurance coverage or access to primary care due to inadequate mental health parity laws. CPNP believes that all individuals deserve access to affordable, meaningful health care coverage. Moreover, while approaches to address prevention, intervention, and treatment have improved, gaps in the mental health system continue to persist for youth, adults, and seniors. Patients with mental illness benefit when psychiatric pharmacists are involved in the delivery of their health care. Psychiatric pharmacists play a vital role in the delivery of mental health services.