I am pleased to announce that Judy Tietz, M.D. will become Medical Director for Rutland Mental Health Services effective July 1. Dr. Tietz, a Board-Certified Adult Psychiatrist, has been with RMHS for nine years and will increase her time here to serve as Medical Director, in addition to carrying a caseload. Dr. Tietz will work at RMHS in a part-time capacity for two days per week for three weeks each month, and three days per week during the fourth week. Dr. Tietz will be available for consult at other times.
With the assistance of a physician recruiter, we had been searching for a full-time Medical Director since last fall, without success. The shortage of both Adult and Child psychiatrists is a national crisis. Last November, the New England Journal of Medicine CareerCenter reported that there were nearly 5,500 openings for psychiatry jobs versus only 871 last-year psychiatry residents. A recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that 59 percent of psychiatrists are 55 or older, the fourth oldest of 41 medical specialties, signaling that many may soon be retiring or reducing their workload. The National Institute of Mental Health reported that only 4 percent of medical school graduates were entering psychiatry.
In addition to Dr. Tietz, we are recruiting for two full-time permanent Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners who will see mental health and developmental disabilities clients. What is clear is that in the face of the psychiatrist shortage, a multi-faceted approach to psychiatric services is needed, which includes specialized providers such as Nurse Practitioners, linkages with primary care practices, and possibly tele-psychiatry. We cleared the concept of a part-time Medical Director supported by Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners with the Vermont Department of Mental Health prior to moving forward.
Currently, we have a Locum Tenens Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner three days per week, and another full-time Board-Certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner coming later this month or in early June, who is starting out as a Locum but with an option to become a full-time RMHS employee if it works out. We continue to have a contract with Matrix Health Services for four days per month of a Child Psychiatrist, and are exploring relationships with other psychiatric and primary care providers in the region to complement the in-house medical staff.
I want to thank Dr. Mindy Prager for serving as interim Medical Director. Dr. Prager will be relocating out of state when she leaves RMHS at the end of June. Between now and then, Dr. Prager, Dr. Tietz and Laura Kass will work to transition clients in the most effective and clinically-sound manner. They will also consult with CAP to ensure that coverage is available when the contracted CAP Nurse Practitioner leaves this summer.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you.