Similar to other states, Georgia is facing workforce challenges within its community mental health system. These issues may be exacerbated as implementation of the Affordable Care Act expands demand for behavioral health services. Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities commissioned a needs assessment to examine the shortage of prescribing providers (psychiatrists, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants) in the state’s public mental health system. A unique partnership of key stakeholders developed and conducted the mixed-methods needs assessment at six of Georgia’s 27 community mental health centers serving more than 40,000 patients annually. The assessment documented challenges in recruiting and retaining psychiatrists and workforce shortages for all prescriber groups. The authors describe opportunities for optimizing the psychiatric workforce and training the next generation of community psychiatrists.
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