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Estimating psychiatric manpower requirements based on patients' needs
Psychiatric Services 1997; doi:
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OBJECTIVE: To provide a better understanding of the complexities of estimating psychiatric manpower requirements, the authors describe several approaches to estimation and present a method based on patients' needs. METHODS: A five-step method for psychiatric manpower estimation is used, with estimates of data pertinent to each step, to calculate the total psychiatric manpower requirements for the United States. The method is also used to estimate the hours of psychiatric service per patient per year that might be available under current psychiatric practice and under a managed care scenario. RESULTS: Depending on assumptions about data at each step in the method, the total psychiatric manpower requirements for the U.S. population range from 2,989 to 358,696 full-time-equivalent psychiatrists. The number of available hours of psychiatric service per patient per year is 14.1 hours under current psychiatric practice and 2.8 hours under the managed care scenario. CONCLUSIONS: The key to psychiatric manpower estimation lies in clarifying the assumptions that underlie the specific method used. Even small differences in assumptions mean large differences in estimates. Any credible manpower estimation process must include discussions and negotiations between psychiatrists, other clinicians, administrators, and patients and families to clarify the treatment needs of patients and the roles, responsibilities, and job description of psychiatrists.

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