Child Psychiatrists in Short Supply
San Joaquin Valley residents can face wait times of several months for an appointment with a child psychiatrist, leading parents to seek treatment for their children in other areas or consult physicians who do not have specialty training in child psychiatry, the Fresno Bee reports. Nineteen child psychiatrists currently practice in the San Joaquin Valley, but 75 are needed to meet a nationwide goal of 14.8 such physicians per 100,000 residents.
According to the Bee, it is difficult to recruit child psychiatrists to the area because:
- There is no hospital in the area that provides 24-hour care for youths with severe mental illnesses;
- Case loads are heavy;
- The San Joaquin Valley is "professionally isolating;" and
- A comprehensive system for treating children with mental illnesses does not exist in the area.
Scott Ahles, chief of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program, said the program is working to help address the shortage by developing a behavioral health science center to train child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners and other pediatric medical professionals (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 5/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.