March 1st, 2014

Practice issues examined

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For many psychologists, the issues that come up outside the therapy room are the ones that cause the most stress. From dealing with insurance regulations to communicating with patients beyond scheduled session times to understanding laws of inter-state commerce, practicing psychologists need to keep abreast of issues that could seriously impact their business. In this article, we address a few of the concerns that have been brought recently to our attention: Email communications The prevalence of email has opened up new channels for communicating with clients, but it has also brought up a multitude of privacy concerns. Does email comply [More]

March 1st, 2014

N.H. 10-bed unit could happen sooner

By Rivkela Brodsky

As a means to ease an emergency room crisis, state lawmakers hope to accelerate the timetable on a plan to add a 10-bed stabilization unit to New Hampshire Hospital. The state’s Senate Capital Budget Committee in January approved $375,000 in additional funds for the $2.1 million project that was originally slated to be completed in 2016, says committee chairman Sen. David Boutin, (R-Hooksett). The additional funding is meant to get the unit finished faster. “At the end of the day, [the project] gets moved up about a year. That’s a big help here in the state. It provides some relief [More]

March 1st, 2014

Conn. mandates coverage for transgendered individuals

By Howard Newman

The state of Connecticut wants to make things absolutely clear when it comes to residents seeking medical treatment, psychological counseling and other related services. No one will be denied medically necessary care because of race, creed or sexual orientation. As of Dec. 19, 2013, the latter group now specifically includes transgendered individuals. A bulletin issued by the Connecticut Department of Insurance prohibits insurance companies from withholding treatment “because of the individual’s gender identity or expression.” It mandates that “health insurers are required to pay covered expenses for treatment provided to individuals with gender dysphoria where the treatment is deemed necessary [More]

March 1st, 2014

Stigma keeps veterans away from services, N.H. study says

By Rivkela Brodsky

The health needs of veterans in New Hampshire are going unmet, according to a recent report by a legislative commission on PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. The 23-member panel issued a report in January that cited stigma as the main hindrance to treatment in a state with the fifth highest per capita population of veterans. “Veterans, of course, do seek health services from non-veteran providers with general success. However, the greater challenge comes when the injuries are invisible, and the struggles deeply personal,” reads the report. “The challenge of stigma with regard to disorders of mental health and [More]

March 1st, 2014

Vermont mayors cite mental health reform as priority

By Janine Weisman

The mayors of eight Vermont communities have named mental health reform their top legislative priority for 2014 to draw attention to the plight of emergency rooms and law enforcement agencies across the state coping with rising demand for services. “There is a fairly acute problem in this area right now. We see that in the strain of law enforcement. We see it in the strain on our hospitals,” says Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We have seen some unfortunate events, very high profile events, that have affected Vermonters over the last year and there is an active policy discussion going on [More]

March 1st, 2014

New England states address mandate to end vet homelessness

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2009, the Obama Administration, in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs put forth a bold challenge, announcing a mandate to end homelessness among military veterans. The goal, to get all veterans off the streets by the end of 2015 is a lofty one, but one that the federal government, with bi-partisan support from the U.S. Congress, has put some serious financial resources behind, including vouchers for short term housing help and family support. With only 20 months to go before the deadline, the various programs have helped to drive a 24 percent decline in veteran homelessness according to [More]

March 1st, 2014

Survey: Maine children struggle more with bullying, thoughts of suicide

By Pamela Berard

Maine schoolchildren are drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes less, but are struggling more with bullying and thoughts of suicide, according to the recently released Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. The survey was based on anonymous responses from about 63,000 public school students in grades 5-12, and has been conducted every other year since 2009 by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The number of high school students who reported having at least one drink of alcohol in their lifetime dropped from 59.4 percent (in 2011) to 54.3 percent in 2013 and fell from 19 [More]

March 1st, 2014

Psychologist’s work emphasizes community building

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a world so fixated on constant communication, be it texting, social media or 24-hour news channels, it can be shocking to find the one thing often missing in building a better community is, in fact, communication. When Tom Wolff, Ph.D., president of Tom Wolff and Associates in Amherst, Mass., a private consulting firm, first got involved in working in coalition building and community development, he soon found that that most important piece of the puzzle was missing. Over the years, he has developed an expertise in the area of getting disparate groups, agencies and individuals together to solve issues. [More]

March 1st, 2014

Counting what we do and doing what counts

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

These days, we count everything in the hospital. On Tuesdays, an email comes to remind me to submit my weekly encounter form by 10 o’clock the next morning. That’s where we count how many patients we’ve seen and how many minutes we spent seeing them. Risk assessments ask us how many times a patient has been arrested, charged with violent crimes, convicted, hospitalized, restrained and secluded. We need to know how many times they’ve run away from home, tortured animals, set fires, skipped school, bullied classmates, sassed teachers, got suspended, expelled or expunged from the rolls of the good and [More]

March 1st, 2014

Telepsychology guidelines worth examination

By Edward Stern J.D.

The American Psychological Association has begun planning for the future. In July of 2013, the APA approved Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Rather than repeat the text and history for these guidelines here, those interested may proceed to the Web site www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology.aspx The site reports that the Telepsychology Task Force that put together the guidelines were focused on two issues: the psychologist’s own knowledge of and competence in the provision of telepsychology; and the need to ensure that the client/patient has a full understanding of the potential increased risks to loss of security and confidentiality when using technologies. In [More]

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