April 1, 2015 | by Christine Vestal
The number of people with insurance coverage for alcohol and drug abuse disorders is about to explode at a time there’s already a severe shortage of trained behavioral health professionals in many states.
Until now, there’s been no data on just how severe the shortage is and where it’s most dire. Jeff Zornitsky of the health care consulting firm Advocates for Human Potential (AHP) has developed the first measurement of how many behavioral health professionals are available to treat millions of adults with a substance use disorder, or SUD, in all 50 states.
Zornitsky’s “provider availability index” – the number of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers available to treat every 1,000 people with SUD – ranges from a high of 70 in Vermont to a low of 11 in Nevada. Nationally, the average is 32 behavioral health specialists for every 1,000 people afflicted with the disorder. No one has determined what the ideal number of providers should be, but experts agree the current workforce is inadequate in most parts of the country. Read More . . .
The above article is made possible due to the courtesy of The PEW Charitable Trusts.
ABOUT THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.
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