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Megan Ehret, CPNP President

I recently had the opportunity to represent CPNP at a Behavioral Health Prescriber Summit in Washington D.C. This group is one result of the National Council on Behavioral Health Medical Director’s Institute white paper on Psychiatry Workforce published in 2017 which CPNP contributed to. The meeting was attended by:

  • Dr. Angela Beck, Director of the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Hayden Kepley, Special Assistant to the Director in the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis
  • Kristin Kroeger, Chief of Policy, Programs, and Partnerships at the American Psychiatric Association
  • Dr. Justine Larson, Senior Medical Advisor to the Center for Mental Health Services and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at SAMHSA
  • Dr. Howard Liu, Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Dr. Joe Parks, Medical Director for the National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Keisha Pitts, Director of State Government Relations for the American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Noel Smith, Senior Director of PA and Industry Policy and Analysis at the American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • Dr. Dawn Vanderhoef, member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

The meeting focused on the current psychiatric workforce mapping study being conducted at the University of Michigan which CPNP is participating in. Their research findings demonstrate that the average concentration of BCPPs is 3.51 BCPPs per 1,000,000 persons. Additionally, BCPPs are most highly concentrated in the Midwest region of the United States.

During the summit we were able to engage fellow participants in discussions regarding our role as psychiatric pharmacists, our education, our ability to prescribe medications, and our inability to bill for services. The group was very interested in the current work on the administration of long acting injectable medications. Additionally, the group discussed the funding mechanisms for our residency programs compared to other graduate medical education programs.

MAT prescriber shortages were also addressed. SAMHSA representatives updated the group regarding the current numbers of prescribers, including PAs and NPs. Additional research is being completed by Dr. Beck at the University of Michigan to try to determine the rationale for being data waivered yet not prescribing buprenorphine. Though not being able to be waivered as psychiatric pharmacists, the discussion did allow me as CPNP’s representative to explain the roles many of our members play in the current treatment of substance abuse. 

Dr. Parks provided an overview of recently released publication from the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Medical Director Institute, “Medication Matters: Causes and Solutions to Medication Non-Adherence.” The paper provides a call to action as well as a comprehensive list of solutions. Pharmacists are called out many times in the paper and National Council is planning for additional training activities surrounding medication adherence in the future as well.

The group finalized the day with a brief discussion regarding joint collaborations and projects. Additional meetings will be scheduled to further discuss how to increase the behavioral health workforce.

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