To Faith Miller: Thank you for acknowledging and honoring the importance of addressing mental health issues in your Jan. 2 article ("Out of office," News). You did an excellent job identifying some of the barriers to practice in Colorado (and elsewhere), including very low reimbursement rates. It really is quite difficult to attract competent clinicians to psychiatry when there are so many challenges getting paid a fair wage. This is particularly true for clinicians fresh out of school with student loan debt.
You were thorough in providing a range of options for people battling mental health issues, but you left out a very key group: psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP). Psychiatric nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional training and board certification in evaluating, diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. We are able to prescribe medications and are also licensed to provide therapy. We provide a very high quality of care and approach mental health in an individualistic and holistic manner, incorporating self-care, lifestyle, nutrition and other factors in developing treatment plans that speak to each unique individual. Our clinical outcomes are on par with psychiatrists' and, statistically, we receive very high ratings from clients. Also, we usually cost less than other mental health services.
In many areas there is a shortage of mental health providers — and even fewer who will take medical insurance. It's abundantly clear that ignoring mental health issues has dire consequences. It's important for your readers to be aware of all of their options.
— Sherry Grogan, APRN, PMHNP-BC
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