When the Texas Medical Board levied new restrictions on telemedicine earlier this month, it included language in the amendment that excepted behavioral health services. A new survey from Irving-based Merritt Hawkins illustrates how acute the access problem to such services is in Texas: Of the state’s 254 counties, 185 have no psychiatrist.
The survey, titled The Physician Workforce in Texas: An Examination of Physician Distribution, illustrates the problems in the availability of medical specialties across the state, especially in the rural swaths. Most problematic were psychiatric services—an estimated 3.3 million Texans do not have access to a general psychiatrist. That population is equal to or more populous than 21 states.
With 4.1 psychiatrists per 1,000 patients, Texas is the fourth worst in the country. Only Nevada, Mississippi, and Idaho have fewer. It is worth noting that 63 of the 185 counties do not have a population of more than 6,800 people, which is the recommended baseline for supporting a general psychiatrist.
D Healthcare Daily will have more on the broader availability of physicians throughout Texas next week. Until then, the list below is all the counties without a general psychiatrist.