July 1st, 2016

Reimbursement for neuropsychological testing still poses a problem

By Phyllis Hanlon

Neuropsychological testing has been used in a number of clinical areas to evaluate brain functioning and cognition. The Journal of Athletic Training cites neuropsychological testing as a proven method for assessing symptoms related to concussion. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult credits neuropsychological testing for its effectiveness in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. But more commonly, this evaluation tool is used to examine the overall cognitive, physical, behavioral and executive functioning abilities, among others, in children. In his practice, Greg Javornisky, Ph.D., pediatric neuropsychologist at the Connecticut Pediatric Neuropsychology Associates in Glastonbury, administers general intellect and achievement skills testing to pediatric patients from a developmental [More]

July 1st, 2016

Conn. report tracks behavioral health claims

By Janine Weisman

Connecticut insurers denied more behavioral health claims in 2014, according to an annual report card issued by the Connecticut Insurance Department. How much more depends on how you crunch the numbers. Each year since 2006, the state agency charged with regulating the insurance industry has issued a report card comparing Health Maintenance Organizations or HMOs and up to 15 insurers with the highest premium volume in Connecticut that offer managed care plans. The report compares the track record for each insurer on requests and denials for services and appeal outcomes. Managed care plans use a process called utilization review to [More]

July 1st, 2016

New rules expand treatment options

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 13 to 20 percent of children in the U.S. experience a mental health disorder in a given year. It is a staggering number, exacerbated by the fact that treatment options for children are limited because of constraints on parents’ time and schedules or due to the limited availability of trained professionals. “If you look at this state,” said Nicholas Covino, Psy.D., president of William James College, (formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology), “if you are mom or dad, 70 percent of the time you can’t find mental health professionals to take care of [More]

July 1st, 2016

Interventions can’t stop fraternity overdrinking

By Janine Weisman

Social psychologist Lori Scott-Sheldon, Ph.D., wanted to find out what interventions worked best to curb overdrinking among college fraternity and sorority members when she led a team of researchers to conduct a systematic review of the literature on such programs. The answer: none. The results of their study published online May 16 in the journal, Health Psychology concluded that a range of interventions to reduce drinking by student members of this at-risk group were about as effective as not doing any interventions at all. “Our goal really was to provide guidance to key stakeholders such as students, campus health educators [More]

July 1st, 2016

N.H. prison faces lawsuit for housing mentally ill

By Rivkela Brodsky

The New Hampshire State Prison for Men faces a lawsuit for housing people dealing with severe mental illnesses who have been civilly committed in its Secure Psychiatric Unit. The Treatment Advocacy Center – an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit that works at a national level to change laws that affect getting treatment for people who have the most severe mental illnesses – said they plan to file soon. “We’re dealing with a constitutional issue and that is keeping civilly committed people in a prison system,” said Frankie Berger, director of advocacy for the center. “You’re not allowed to do that. These mentally [More]

July 1st, 2016

MPA/MNS in discussions with Beacon Health Options

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Massachusetts Psychological Association and the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society have a long history of engaging with different insurance companies to advocate for practitioners, according to Roger F. Cohen, Ph.D., former member of the MPA/MNS Joint Advocacy Group. Cohen explained that the MPA and MNS together have done some “pivotal work” since the 1980s with a variety of insurers, including Tufts, United Healthcare and Blue Cross. “MPA and MNS joined together around issues of mutual concern,” he said. Collaboratively MPA and MNS have attempted to inform various insurers of the importance of neuropsychological testing and assessments. “Neuropsychological services have great potential [More]

July 1st, 2016

Use of third party vendors reviewed in wake of stabbing spree

By Pamela Berard

The state is conducting a review in the aftermath of a stabbing spree that ended at Silver City Galleria mall in Taunton, Mass., that left three people dead and several others injured. Family members of the man accused of the stabbings – who was shot and killed during the May 10 incident after reportedly stabbing several individuals, two of whom died – reported that he had been taken by ambulance to Morton Hospital the night before for psychiatric issues and was released early the following morning, the day of the attacks. In a statement following the incident, Morton Hospital, part [More]

July 1st, 2016

Harrington Hospital to open dual diagnosis unit

By Phyllis Hanlon

Citing the desire to fulfill an unmet need, Harrington Health Care System is planning to open a Dual Diagnosis Unit (DDU) for the treatment of individuals who have an addiction concurrent with a mental health crisis at its Webster, Massachusetts campus. Greg Mirhej, Harrington’s executive director for behavioral health, said, “Too often the care of those who suffer with both of these types of conditions is compartmentalized. Units, which are adept at treating the addiction spectrum of disorders, have limited access to qualified mental health care. Meanwhile, plenty of inpatient mental health units perform detox procedures for addiction, but few [More]

July 1st, 2016

Revision on wrap-around services focuses on schizophrenia

By Rivkela Brodsky

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has revised who can receive wrap-around community support services under its Medicaid program, focusing mostly on those “with severe and persistent mental illness.” What was previously available to individuals dealing with mental illnesses like posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, will now focus on those dealing with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in accordance with the DSM 5, said Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “This is a policy designed to support people with severe and persistent mental illness – especially schizophrenia or schizoaffective [More]

July 1st, 2016

Election cycle analyzed by political psychologist

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For a political psychologist, this election cycle has provided plenty of fodder for discussion. From the rise of a true political outsider to the first woman in line for the top spot on a party ticket, to the role of the media in reporting, and affecting, political outcomes, the presidential election of 2016 has been a game-changer. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke with Elizabeth P. Ossoff, Ph.D., professor and chair of the psychology department at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, to discuss some of what she sees as key components of the current cycle. She talked about [More]

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