Telepsychiatry Companies

Tag Archives: PMHNP Benefits

Over the past few years, the number of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) has been steadily increasing — passing the 12,000 mark in 2016.

In many states, PMHNPs can evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe medication to patients — just like their psychiatric counterparts. That means organizations can incorporate PMHNPs into their overarching strategies to help address the nationwide shortage of behavioral health providers, meet their patient populations’ needs, and decrease patient wait times.

If you’re a healthcare organization looking to expand access to your behavioral health services and are considering which type of provider would be the best fit for your community, here’s everything you need to know about PMHNPs.

PMHNPs are highly-trained psychiatric care providers who can provide comparable treatment to psychiatrists

Due to the nationwide provider shortage, finding psychiatrists for your care team might not be an option. Thankfully, PMHNPs are just as equipped to provide the high-quality care patients need. While PMHNPs and psychiatrists are different provider types and have different training and education requirements, the treatment they can provide is very similar.

  • Both PMHNPs and psychiatrists have graduate-level education, and PMHNPs are required to have either a Master’s or Doctorate in nursing to sit for the PMHNP certification exam.
  • Once a PMHNP is certified, they can practice across the patient lifespan — meaning they can treat children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric populations.
  • While psychiatrists can also treat patients across their lifespan, they often opt to undergo further fellowship training that equips them to treat specialized patient populations.
  • Both PMHNPs and psychiatrists are eligible to earn an X-waiver, which allows them to prescribe buprenorphine to treat patients with substance use disorders.

PMHNPs receive training around holistic care — which makes them a good provider fit for CMHCs and FQHCs

PMHNPs can be a major benefit to your organization, especially if your organization serves patients from vulnerable populations, like Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

Recent studies have found that the quality of PMHNP care is similar or equal to that of psychiatrists. Additionally, much of the training they receive works well for the kinds of patient populations CMHCs and FQHCs often see.

Like psychiatrists, all PMHNPs receive training around assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with mental health needs. However, PMHNPs also focus on holistic care, and they have skills and experience in treating the whole patient.

Their specialized training includes:

  • Psychotherapy and behavioral health conditions:PMHNPs receive extensive training in psychotherapy and can effectively treat common behavioral health conditions, including mood disorders, anxiety, substance use, depression, ADHD, and schizophrenia.
  • Crisis intervention and directing patient care planning:PMNHPs have experience in crisis intervention and can utilize de-escalation techniques to support patients who enter your health center in a state of distress. PMHNPs are also skilled at care coordination and can help provide consultations and referrals to psychiatrists and other specialists if a patient’s case requires it.
  • Collaborative care:PMHNPs are trained to work in collaborative care teams, where they may work with psychiatrists, social workers, community managers, or nurses to find a care plan that can treat a specific patient’s needs effectively.
  • Effective communication with patient families:PMHNPs are equipped to interact with patient families or caregivers — particularly when treating young patients or patients from vulnerable populations.

If these skills and experiences would benefit your organization, a PMHNP may be a good fit for you.

If you’re considering hiring a PMHNP, make sure you understand your state’s regulations

Unlike psychiatrists, PMHNPs are subject to state regulations that dictate the kind of care they can provide. For example, a PMHNP in Texas could see patients and provide assessment and diagnosis — but they would not be able to prescribe without having an established Prescriptive Authority Agreement in place with a physician. However, in Oregon, a PMHNP can prescribe medication without a physician’s collaboration and can even practice independently.

States fall into three regulatory categories:

  1. Full practice:In full practice states, PMHNPs can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients by prescribing medications without consulting with a physician. In these states, PMHNPs can also set up independent practices. There are currently 23 full practice states across the country.
  2. Reduced practice:Reduced practice states limit PMHNPs’ ability to practice fully and independently. Often, PMHNPs will be required to hold a collaborative agreement with a psychiatrist in order to provide full patient care and prescribe medications to treat their patients.
  3. Restricted practice:In restricted practice states, PMHNPs must work directly with a psychiatrist or other healthcare provider and cannot prescribe medications to patients without that psychiatrist’s supervision. There are currently 12 restricted practice states in the U.S.

When considering which provider type to hire, you should research what kinds of regulations exist in your state. If you live in a restrictive state, plan to have consulting psychiatrists available to prescribe medication in collaboration with your PMHNP.

Hiring PMHNPs can be a challenging task, so consider the recruitment resources available

If you’ve decided PMHNPs are a good fit for your organization, there are several recruitment options and partners you can consider:

  • Nurse practitioner associations:If you’re looking for a local PMHNP, you can research nurse practitioner associations at the regional and state level. These associations often have job boards where you can post potential openings and get your position in front of qualified candidates.
  • Local universities:Universities with nursing programs will often also have job boards and can be beneficial partners when looking for a PMHNP in your area.
  • Telepsychiatry: Telepsychiatry partners like Iris Telehealth can be valuable resources to help your organization source and vet potential PMHNPs before adding them to your team. Using a service like this will give you access to PMHNPs at a national level, opening up a network of qualified providers and helping to get them licensed in your state.

Your decision to use a PMHNP should be all about your patients

Because psychiatrists’ availability is limited across the country, particularly in rural communities, it’s essential to consider how your organization can best serve your patient populations and provide high-quality care.

PMHNPs bring valuable experience dealing with sick patients and vulnerable populations to the table, which can be a major benefit to your organization. This is particularly true for CMHCs and FQHCs, who often see a high volume of patients from vulnerable populations.

PMHNPs are also incredibly passionate about their work. In an interview with one of our own PMHNPs, Dale McQueeney, she says that one of themost rewarding parts of her job is seeing patients reduce use or achieve and maintain abstinence from substances. 

Most importantly, PMHNPs can serve as key behavioral health providers. They can extend access to your services, meet patient needs, decrease wait times, and become long-term, collaborative team members.

To learn more about how Iris Telehealth can help you source PMHNPs who would be a good fit for your organization, contact us, and we’ll help you get started.

Tag Archives: PMHNP Benefits

The degree to which nurse practitioners (NPs) can utilize the full extent of their education and training varies from state to state and practice to practice. For NPs, there are rules on how they can see patients, whether or not they need a collaborative physician, and what controlled substances they can prescribe with or without the need for co-signatures. Depending on the needs your organization is trying to fill, whether it’s addressing the growing provider shortage or decreasing patient wait time, utilizing a nurse practitioner can help with a wide variety of issues.

According to the AANP, nurse practitioners’ independence varies depending on what state they choose to practice in. The three types of state practice environments are:

  • Full practice (independent)
  • Reduced practice (partially independent)
  • Restricted practice (non-independent)

In restricted practice states like Texas, NPs must be under another health provider’s supervision to practice. Reduced practice states like New York allow NPs to be in a collaborative agreement with another health provider to facilitate patient care. They also have one or more limits on NP practice. Full practice states like Arizona allow NPs to practice independently, evaluate, and provide care to patients without a collaborating physician or agreement.

As of right now, there are 23 full practice states, 16 reduced practice states, and 11 restricted practice states.

Finding the right fit

While NPs are essential to addressing the provider shortage and improving the patient experience, they’re also indispensable when it comes to mental health treatment. The type of NP working in the mental health field is called a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or a PMHNP. These providers can be found working in correctional settings, residential treatment centers, inpatient hospitals, health systems, and some private practices. However, the majority of PMHNPs are practicing in underserved and rural areas.

PMHNPs can be a major benefit to your organization, especially if your organization serves patients from vulnerable populations, like Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). They are skilled at caring for patients, and their quality level is similar or equal to that of a psychiatrist. Not only can they provide a similar quality of care as a psychiatrist, but they are also skilled at facilitating holistic care, which overall contributes to the level of quality care and treatment they can provide.

PMHNPs receive specific training in various types of treatment they provide like:

  • Extensive training in psychotherapy and behavioral health conditions
  • Crisis intervention and directing patient care planning
  • Collaborative care
  • Effective communication with patient families

If your organization is looking to provide these skills and treatments, PMHNPs might be a valuable asset for your organization.

Challenges and opportunities you might face

Across the country, healthcare organizations are experiencing a primary care shortage that is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in rural areas. According to USAFacts, as of March 2021, 37% of the U.S. population lived in 5,833 mental health professional shortage areas. Providing cost-effective but high-quality care can be difficult in these regions, but nurse practitioners can serve as a primary care provider in full practice states.

In restricted and reduced practice states, PMHNPs cannot practice without a collaborating physician. During the provider shortage, it is especially challenging to find a collaborating physician. These agreements have to be renewed annually, and they have to meet with the physician they are collaborating with on a monthly basis. This specific agreement can cause issues for rural areas where there may not be a physician locally available, or there may be a shortage of physicians who would be able to work collaboratively with a nurse practitioner. In some extenuating circumstances, if the collaborating physician becomes ill or retires, patients cannot be seen, and you might have to cancel the appointment.

By utilizing telepsychiatry, you can find the best-qualified PMHNP for your organization’s needs, especially during a provider shortage when you cannot find a PMHNP locally. Telehealth can extend healthcare delivery to underserved populations and rural areas. With the help of a PMHNP, it can be easier to meet that need by partnering with telehealth organizations like Iris Telehealth. Telepsychiatry solutions can help healthcare organizations overcome access issues and help alleviate the pressure of finding a qualified provider locally. For example, a PMHNP living in Texas can meet the licensure requirements in Utah, making it possible to extend healthcare delivery through telepsychiatry.

Telepsychiatry that meets you where you are

Regardless of where nurse practitioners practice, they can utilize telehealth to connect their patients with specialty care while working in their scope of practice. Telepsychiatry can open up your search by hiring a PMHNP from across the country instead of searching locally, especially since there is a high saturation of providers on the East Coast and a higher need on the West Coast.

If you decide to hire a PMHNP for your organization, you can ease some of the administrative burdens, like licensing, credentialing, and obtaining a collaborative agreement.

How Iris Telehealth can help

Iris Telehealth serves as a resource for providers who need support and can help your organization source and vet potential PMNHPs. If you’re looking to develop a formal telepsychiatry program to provide high-quality care for your patients, Iris can help you through the process.

If you would like to learn more about how telepsychiatry can help supplement your behavioral health team, contact us today.