Shortage of psychiatrists forces Genesis Psychology Associates to take limited referrals

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - As Mental Health Awareness month comes to a close, Genesis Psychology Associates has said it’s taking very limited referrals because of a shortage of providers.

In a statement to TV6, Genesis said, “Workforce challenges are everywhere and just like every other organization - from newsrooms to restaurants, to manufacturing, to hospitals and everyone in between we are navigating unprecedented workforce challenges. Genesis Psychology Associates Ltd. is taking very limited referrals due to a provider shortage combined with a full slate of patients. We recently had a psychiatrist move to part-time, and our other psychiatrist has absorbed those patients. The bottom line is that the decrease in accepting referrals is simply due to physician and provider workforce limitations. We continue to accept very limited referrals for our Genesis Health Group partners due to current patient capacity. Genesis Health System is committed, as per our mission statement, to provide compassionate, quality health services to all those in need. To that end, we are actively recruiting a psychiatrist, and prescriber in order to help fill the demand.”

Joe Lilly with the Robert Young Mental Health Center has seen the problem firsthand.

“There’s some shortage and challenge with bringing on mental health professionals. We have experienced that to some degree and I think a lot of that is related to the increased need that we have seen over the last couple of years for mental health,” said Lilly, Director of Outpatient Services at the Robert Young Center with UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

Lilly said the center has over 50 mental health providers and social workers and 23 physiatric providers.

“Despite those clinicians and those providers, there’s still an incredible need that we see,” Lill said.

A 2021 Quad City community health assessment found just over 23 percent of adults experience fair or poor mental health in the QCA, while almost 43 percent have experienced symptoms of chronic depression.

“This last year we had a record number of referrals from UnityPoint clinics with over three thousand patients referred to us,” said Lilly.

Lilly said more people are reporting mental health problems since COVID but believes the pandemic has also decreased the stigma around getting help. All increasing the need for providers.

“People actually are experiencing more anxiety, more depression, more physiological and emotional health symptoms but we also recognize that the stigma has gone away for lack of a better word to some degree - we have actually seen that stigma decrease,” said Richard Whitaker, CEO of Vera French Mental Health Center and also a Steering Committee member of the Quad Cities Behavioral Health Coalition.

“Health care can sometimes be scarce. It’s not this unending, uninterruptable resource,” Whitaker said.

You can contact the Robert Young Center at (309)-779-3000.

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