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Psych Congress  

Survey of Primary Care Provider Comfort Treating Psychiatric Patients in an FQHC

Kellen Stilwell, BS; Leslie Pelkey, MD; Thomas Platt, MD; Katie Nguyen, BS; Angela Pinheiro, MD; Scott Monteith, MD; Eric Achtyes, MD
Cherry Health

This poster was presented at the 30th annual  Psych Congress, held Sept. 16-19, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Context: The prevalence of mental illness in the country has held stable, but the number of prescribed psychotropic medications is rising. Many people with mental health needs are seen and managed by a primary care provider (PCP), but little data exists to quantify their comfort with the prescriptions and disorders that they are managing.

Objective: Quantify PCP comfort with management of mental disorders and prescription of different psychotropic medications.

Methods: PCPs from a large federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Michigan were given a survey containing 19 questions about psychiatric medications, 14 about psychiatric disorders, and two that asked how assistance from a mental health professional affected their comfort. Questions were ranked 1-5 on a Likert scale according to the participant's comfort, with 5 being 'most comfortable.' Responses from the questions about medications and disorders were averaged to approximate the comfort of the survey responders with providing care alone.

Results: PCPs overall indicated comfort greater than neutral (three on scale of five) with six of the treatments and four of the disorders. Family physicians reported comfort greater than neutral with 50% of medications and disorders. Internists reported similar comfort with medications, but only ranked 29% of disorders greater than neutral. Pediatricians and obstetricians/gynecologists were most comfortable with treating ADHD and unipolar depression, respectively. In general PCP's comfort treating psychiatric patients increased with support of a mental health professional.

Discussion: The survey data provides valuable insight into comfort levels of PCPs that can be used to address educational/collaborative needs of providers.

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