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Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s psychiatrist shortage won’t be easily solved
By Mahendra Khera
January 29, 2015

Psychiatrist Mahendra Khera

Psychiatrist Mahendra Khera

I read with great interest the article entitled “Health reform highlights shortage in Maryland of psychiatrists” (Jan. 27). I have been a practicing psychiatrist for almost last 20 years, and I fully agree with the article that there is a huge shortage of psychiatrists.

Believe it or not, every day about four to five new patients call me, but I cannot see any of them. The reason is very simple: I do not have a time to see them. Do I feel sorry for them? Yes, definitely.

The issue about out-of-date directories of providers is one of long standing. Most insurance companies do not want to take their ex-providers off the list because it doesn’t look good for them. It is surprising to learn that in this fast-paced electronic era, data cannot be updated on time.

I agree with Dr. Steve Daviss that implementation of parity laws has made access to mental health care better in some ways. Most private insurance companies do not require any approval for outpatient mental health services anymore, but it is very interesting to note that state of Maryland still requires authorization to see the out-patient psychiatric patients.

Large deductibles also playing a role in preventing people from seeking treatment for mental health. It is a choice between paying your mortgage payments and seeing a psychiatrist.

Bottom line, this is a very complex issue that should be addressed, but how anybody can solve it is beyond my comprehension at least at this time.

Dr. Mahendra S. Khera, Sykesville

Mahendra Khera