Psychiatry Shortage Grows 50%
Merritt Hawkins & Associates, one of the country's biggest physician search companies, reports that in 2005 there was a 48% increase in requests for psychiatrist searches. They attributed this to a "growing demand for behavioral health services and a diminishing supply of psychiatrists." (Duh.) But here's the interesting part:
"A growing number of facilities, many of them state funded mental health facilities or correctional facilities, are unable to recruit the psychiatrists they need and are reliant on temporary (i.e., locum tenens) practitioners to fill gaps in their staffs. We project that psychiatrists will become increasingly difficult to recruit and that the need for additional psychiatrists will become acute in the next five to 10 years."
Apparently when it comes to "fill order", public institutions are the last places to get physicians.
Free Society Sees Longer Waiting Times
According to a story in today's Los Angelos Times, the waiting time to see a physician has grown. Here are the delays they report:
- dermatologist: 24 days
- gynecologist: 23 days
- cardiologist: 19 days
- orthopedic surgeon: 17 days
I think this is interesting because some correctional systems require that inmates with positive intake medical screens see a physician within seven days---at least twice as fast as the waiting time in free society. And these are systems with the highest patient loads and the most difficult recruitment issues. Why are correctional facilities held to higher standards than free society?