February 5th, 2018

More work to be done to meet need for child mental health services

By Janine Weisman

No clinician would dispute using the word “crisis” to describe the reality that despite greater public awareness about mental disorders in youth, many young people with severe mental disorders never receive the specialty mental health care they need. “I think there has been a crisis for some time,” said Robert P. Franks, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC) in Boston and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Professional Affairs. “Most estimates are that only 20 to 40 percent of kids that need mental health services get them.” As many as [More]

January 1st, 2018

Treatment varies for sexual offenders

By Phyllis Hanlon

Clinicians who treat sexual offenders tailor treatment to the offense. Throughout her career Susan Rudman, Ph.D., Northern Regional representative for the Massachusetts Psychological Association, member of the MPA board of directors, forensic psychologist and private practitioner in Salem, Mass., has treated hundreds of males, and a handful of females, who present with various underlying reasons for sexually offensive behavior. From a chaotic family life as a child and “male rage” to the need to exert power over another and “distortion issues,” such as poor social skills, each offender has usually experienced some sort of trauma, she said. Most of Rudman’s [More]

January 1st, 2018

Anti-clawback bill makes progress in legislature

By Janine Weisman

A proposed six-month limit on the ability of insurance companies to retroactively deny claims for mental health and substance abuse services has advanced in the Massachusetts Legislature. Language to impose the limit was included in an amendment in the comprehensive health care control bill that passed the Senate in early November 2017. The measure seeks to restrict managed care insurance companies from recouping payments already made to health providers for services rendered. The practice is known as a clawback, and it can happen when a later determination is made that a patient was not covered at the time of services [More]

January 1st, 2018

‘Weinstein effect’ comes to campus

By Janine Weisman

He was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Then allegations of decades of sexual assault and harassment dethroned film producer Harvey Weinstein last fall, rocking not just the film industry but news outlets and politics as well. As the list of high-profile men dismissed from their jobs after being accused of sexual misconduct grew longer every day, news reports showed academia was not immune to the so-called “Weinstein effect.” Colleges large and small launched probes after a wave of complaints about bad behavior by faculty targeting students surfaced at schools including Berklee College of Music, Boston University, [More]

January 1st, 2018

Minors can be treated without permission

By Pamela Berard

Vermont minors can now consent to receive outpatient treatment from a mental health professional without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Newly enacted legislation, “An act relating to consent by minors for mental health treatment” went into effect Jan. 1. “Outpatient treatment” in the context of the act refers to psychotherapy and other counseling services that are supportive, but not prescription drugs. Originally, the legislation was drafted specifically to allow minors to consent to mental health treatment for conditions related to the minor’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.” Rick Barnett, Psy.D., M.S., LADC, the Vermont Psychological Association’s legislative [More]

January 1st, 2018

Harrington Health Care System to open behavioral health clinic in CT

By Phyllis Hanlon

Harrington Health Care System, based in Southbridge, Mass., has recently been extending its reach, particularly in the area of behavioral health services. Early in 2018, the hospital system will establish an out-of-state presence in Putnam, Connecticut when it opens a behavioral health clinic there. According to Caitlin Adams, LICSW, director of mental health for the Harrington Health Care System, the hospital has been providing a variety of services to residents in Connecticut for some time. “We’re seeing more patients from the border towns like Brooklyn, Woodstock and Putnam,” she said. A resident of Putnam, Adams is intimately aware of the [More]

January 1st, 2018

Grant to track prison-based treatment program

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As the country continues to deal with an on-going battle against drug addiction and overdose fatalities, the National Institutes of Health has announced the funding of a study of an opioid addiction treatment program in the prison systems of Rhode Island. The $215,157 grant, awarded to Miriam Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, will allow researchers to track the success of a program that has been in place since 2016 in the state’s prison system. Whereas, previously, inmates were weaned off of medications used to assist in combating withdrawal symptoms after seven [More]

January 1st, 2018

N.H. seeks funding for opioid crisis

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire needs help. That is the message put out by US Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in a recent release decrying the Trump administration’s decision not to increase funding for the state’s battle against the opioid crisis. While the problem has reached every state in the country, New Hampshire has been especially hard hit. With the second highest death rate from opioid overdose in the nation, New Hampshire has seen deaths more than double since 2011. “We are second in the nation per capita from opioid related deaths, but actually number one for fentanyl related deaths,” [More]

January 1st, 2018

Grant to enhance rural services

By Phyllis Hanlon

Clinical & Support Options (CSO), a comprehensive behavioral health agency that serves residents in western Massachusetts, recently received a federal grant that provides $450,000 over a three-year period. The grant is one of three given by the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and is designated to support the Rural Access Project. According to CEO Karin Jeffers, LMHC, the agency will use the funds to expand its Center for Community Resilience after Trauma (CCRT) program. “This program assists victims of crime ranging from drunk driving and domestic violence to home break-ins and sexual abuse. We offer a unique [More]

January 1st, 2018

Emergency Department visits for behavioral care on the rise

By Pamela Berard

The number of Massachusetts patients seeking Emergency Department (ED) care for behavioral health conditions increased, as did the proportion of those patients who boarded and the length of boarding, according to data from 2011-2015 that was recently released by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC). The data from HPC – an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care – indicated that the number of patients seeking ED care for behavioral health conditions increased 13 percent from 2011-2015, and the number of patients who boarded (i.e., patients who spend [More]

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