December 1st, 2013

Agencies investigated

By Pamela Berard

The state of Maine stopped MaineCare payments to two behavioral health service agencies pending investigation of fraud allegations and is helping approximately 500 affected clients find alternative providers while the investigation is on-going. In late September, the state stopped MaineCare payments to Umbrella Mental Health Services and AngleZ Behavioral Health Services, both located in the central part of the state, after receiving a credible allegation of fraud for the agencies, says John A. Martins, director, Public and Employee Communications, Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Martins could not specifically detail the allegations or how they were received, but [More]

December 1st, 2013

Senate bill reintroduced

By Rivkela Brodsky

Prompted by the Sept. 16 shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that left 12 dead, as well as the shooter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) urged for the passage of stand-alone mental health legislation that she says will “strengthen the nation’s mental health system.” “Given the clear connection between recent mass shootings and mental illness, the Senate should not delay bipartisan legislation that would help address this issue,” says Ayotte and co-author Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) in a Sept. 18 news release. Ayotte and Begich introduced the Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153) in January. Portions of that bill were [More]

December 1st, 2013

Bill seeks EHR funding for mental health providers

By Howard Newman

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, provided nearly $20 billion in incentive funding for health information technology. Known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, this federal program enables physicians and other healthcare providers to receive incentive payments for implementing electronic health records (EHRs). While doctors, hospitals and community healthcare centers were able to take advantage of this program and upgrade their recordkeeping, an important group of service providers were not included. Psychologists, mental health providers, substance abuse professionals and facilities offering these services were not eligible for [More]

December 1st, 2013

EIP rules still an issue in Vermont

By Rivkela Brodsky

Ever since Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011 and the Vermont State Hospital was destroyed, the state has been in the process of revising its mental health rules. The legislature passed a bill last year creating a decentralized system and various stakeholders have been working with the state’s Department of Mental Health on the new regulations and are in agreement on most rules, but are still trying to navigate an issue with Emergency Involuntary Procedure or EIP rules. Hospital officials and advocates for patients with mental illness are debating whether the Vermont regulations should continue to require a psychiatrist to [More]

December 1st, 2013

Expert on gun violence describes new APA policy draft

By Catherine Robertson Souter

We may be focusing on the wrong areas when it comes to the public discourse on gun violence. But coming to a consensus on what are the key points can be difficult in a political climate where any discussion becomes heated and polarizing. Adding to the dilemma, says Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D., senior associate at the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, is the difficulty in finding funding for new research to identify ways to combat the problem. Kinscherff, who is the associate vice president for Community Engagement at the Massachusetts School for Professional Psychology, was selected to [More]

December 1st, 2013

It’s all happening at the dump

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It’s not every day I get a chance to attend a world premiere, so when my neighbor Joe sent me the invitation, I promptly accepted. Never mind that it wasn’t exactly Hollywood. A student documentary about our town’s recycling center, affectionately known as “the dump,” complete with pre-screening hors d’oeuvres in the company of friends and neighbors was reason enough to break out the black tie and tails or a least put a fresh shine on my old wing-tips. Of course, since the subject matter was the dump, none of that is necessary. I went on a lark and returned [More]

December 1st, 2013

“Listening with Purpose: Entry Points into Shame and Narcissistic Vulnerability”

By Paul Efthim PhD

“Listening with Purpose: Entry Points into Shame and Narcissistic Vulnerability” By Jack Danielian and Patricia Gianotti Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2012, Lanham, Md.   Application of psychodynamic therapy examined Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Few contemporary writers have tackled clinical work with shame and its vicissitudes as thoroughly as Jack Danielian and Patricia Gianotti in their new book, “Listening with Purpose.” Based in southern New Hampshire, psychologists Danielian and Gianotti have built careers practicing, teaching and supervising psychotherapy. They saw a need for a training manual that helps clinicians move beyond quick fixes by deepening their understanding of how [More]

November 1st, 2013

BMI report cards drawing mixed reviews

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are considered overweight or obese, a condition that can lead to asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and other physical illnesses. The CDC reports further that 70 percent of obese children had, at minimum, one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 39 percent had two or more. In some states, school systems have been introducing body mass index (BMI) report cards as a means of evaluating and monitoring a child’s weight. Although well intentioned, these reports are drawing a mixture [More]

November 1st, 2013

Psychologists brace for insurance changes

By Pamela Berard

Open enrollment for state health insurance exchanges mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kicked off October 1 and psychologists are preparing for its impact. Deborah C. Baker, J.D., director of legal and regulatory policy for the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Directorate, says the direct impact won’t be as clear until after coverage takes effect Jan. 1. Baker says, “We’re going to be experiencing a whole new area and I think we’re going to find a lot of good things and also areas for improvement.” The exchanges are state-level marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to buy coverage. States [More]

November 1st, 2013

Virtual reality technology used with soldiers as therapy

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The numbers are staggering. By some estimates, a full one-third of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade have come home as the “walking wounded.” With the invisible scars of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury, these men and women are not easily identified nor, because of the stigma of mental health care within the military, do they always seek treatment. The good news is that, while previous war veterans may have similar concerns, there is far more attention being paid to the problem today. One of the more innovative and promising treatments [More]

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