Shasta County Alters Plan To Fill Mental Health Vacancies
On Tuesday, Shasta County's Board of Supervisors voted to replace two vacant psychiatrist positions in the county's mental health department with two nurse practitioner or physician assistant positions, the Redding Record Searchlight reports (Ross, Redding Record Searchlight, 11/28).
Mark Montgomery, the county's mental health director, said the goal of the change is to provide patients with quicker access to mental health professionals. Patients currently can wait weeks or months for appointments.
Montgomery said physician assistant and nurse practitioner positions are easier to fill, and both providers can still prescribe medicine. The new jobs will be overseen by psychiatrists, Montgomery added (Ross, Redding Record Searchlight, 11/27).
Marta McKenzie, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency, said the county will begin recruiting for the new positions this spring.
The county also will continue to try to fill three vacant psychiatrist positions, which have been open for two years, according to McKenzie. The county currently employs one full-time and one part-time psychiatrist, as well as temporary psychiatrists who are under contract (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/28).
Montgomery said competition from hospitals and prisons, which offer higher salaries for psychiatrists, has made it difficult to fill the vacancies (Redding Record Searchlight, 11/27).