Nancy Baum quoted on mental health provider shortage

May 1, 2023 | Concentrate, In The Media

As mental health needs surge, the demand for care in Washtenaw County far exceeds the number of providers available. In an article by Rylee Barnsdale, titled “How can Washtenaw County solve its mental health care provider shortage?” Concentrate quotes Nancy Baum, health policy director for the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT).

The article discusses the growing need for behavioral health providers, both nationally and in Washtenaw County, noting that clinical mental health provider salaries average roughly $52,000 annually in Michigan, compared to $241,000 for psychiatrists. Thus, hiring behavioral healthcare providers is a challenge.

“Recruiting is one thing. Retaining is another,” says Baum. “And level of pay is a big part of that …”

It is not unusual these days for Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH) to have dozens of open positions. Staff turnover is generally attributable to the fact that salaries are low, especially given the amount of emotional care required to support the community.

Trish Cortes, executive director of WCCMH, says that WCCMH has historically been “pretty competitive in terms of recruiting.” Cortes says WCCMH often attracts mission-driven staff, dedicated to helping the community.

Doug Campbell, CEO of the Ypsilanti-based nonprofit provider Hope Clinic, echoed these sentiments: “We’ve doubled down on mission and culture,” Campbell said. “We attract a particular person that is keen on the mission and culture that we live out.”

Read the article here