January 1st, 2016

Massachusetts rolls out new prior authorization forms

By Janine Weisman

Massachusetts commercial health insurance plans must accept new standard prior authorization forms for behavioral health services as early as Feb. 1 to comply with a mandate in the state’s 2012 health care reform law. Providers fill out such forms to supply information needed by insured health plans to make decisions about covering requested services or procedures. Nearly all psychological and neuropsychological assessments require prior authorization. Submitting forms is a time-consuming and often frustrating task for providers who may find themselves dealing with many different insurance companies, all with their own unique sets of questions. Often, there are follow up questions. [More]

January 1st, 2016

Report offers snapshot of health care services, gaps in Rhode Island

By Janine Weisman

The number of primary care physicians in Rhode Island is not enough to meet national standards for adequate access to care and is 40 percent less than previously estimated, according to a new comprehensive health care survey initiative from the Rhode Island Department of Health. There are 803 primary care physicians but 602.7 total full-time equivalents in calendar year 2014, as reported in the RIDOH 2015 Statewide Health Inventory released in mid-November. That number has essentially one primary care full-time equivalent for every 1,718.1 Rhode Islanders. While the report assesses the number of primary care physicians and found modest levels [More]

January 1st, 2016

Study evaluates drug, alcohol use and related conditions

By Pamela Berard

A  recent study found that about 10 percent of Americans met the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for drug use disorder at some point in their lives and about four percent of Americans met the criteria in the past year. The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, also demonstrated high comorbidity and that the majority of those who met the criteria never received treatment. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, was led by Bridget Grant, Ph.D., Ph.D., (doctorates in psychology and epidemiology), [More]

January 1st, 2016

Report: one in 45 children has autism spectrum disorder

By Rivkela Brodsky

A new report using 2014 data suggests that one in 45 children aged 3-17 has autism spectrum disorder in the U.S. That number is up from one in 80 children in 2011-2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics Nov. 13 report. A big reason for the increase is a change in the way researchers asked parents questions about their children having autism. “We believe this increase we saw from previous years of the National Health Interview Survey was the result of three changes we made to the survey in between those years,” [More]

January 1st, 2016

Researchers tackle issue of male abuse victims

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There is probably no greater stigma affecting the world of psychology than the one that surrounds male victims of domestic violence. From being accused by support hotlines of being the perpetrator to being harassed by the police when they call for help to a general response of “Why would a guy let a woman hit him?” male victims face immense hurdles. What is most shocking, according to Denise A. Hines, Ph.D., associate research professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is not so much the stigma faced or the lack of help available but the high prevalence of the problem. [More]

January 1st, 2016

Study: Youth bored and stressed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In perhaps the largest study ever done in such a short time, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence teamed up with Born This Way Foundation to execute a survey of more than 22,000 high school students conducted over a three-month period. Reaching out to adolescents through schools and through the social media net of the Foundation’s founder, singer Lady Gaga, researchers were able to attract an overwhelming number of responses in the set time period, far more than expected. “We had 45,000 responses in total,” said Marc Brackett, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center, “and for this study, we used [More]

January 1st, 2016

Hasbro expands programs

By Pamela Berard

Meeting a growing national need for integrated care for children dealing with combinations of psychiatric and physical illness, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Bradley Hospital, recently expanded its medical/psychiatric programs. The expansion doubles the number of inpatient beds and extends capacity in its partial hospital program. The Medical/Psychiatric Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island and its multidisciplinary team address the needs of children and adolescents ages six to 18 with complex pediatric illnesses such as eating disorders or medical illness complicated by psychiatric co-morbidity. Renovations at the Inpatient Medical/Psychiatric Program expanded the program from eight to 16 [More]

January 1st, 2016

Sleep disorders: solutions to shut-eye shortage

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep insufficiency has become a major problem, linked to motor vehicle and industrial accidents as well as to some chronic physical conditions. The issue of sleep deprivation is complicated and multi-faceted. While seemingly a medical problem, sleep may have psychological underpinnings that mental health professionals can address. Heather C. Finley, Ph.D., sleep medicine specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, cited the 3P model, a framework comprising predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors developed by Paul Glovinsky and Art Spielman, as a way to better understand sleep disorders, particularly insomnia. The [More]

January 1st, 2016

Top workplaces’ list includes mental health agencies

By Susan Gonsalves

Commonwealth Psychology Associates LLC was named one of the “Top Places to Work,” by The Boston Globe for the past two years. The distinction is based on confidential surveys filled out by employees that are assessed by Workplace Dynamics of Exton, Penn., an independent third party that specializes in employee engagement and retention. In all, 357 companies, divided into four groups by size, completed the questionnaire with input collected from 77,000 employees. The participants responded to two dozen statements related to their work experiences. Andrea Piatt, Ph.D., ABPP, who founded the practice in 2004, attributes employee satisfaction to the fact [More]

January 1st, 2016

Panelist: Hybrid careers likely for newcomers

By Rivkela Brodsky

Having a hybrid career in psychology – a mix of academic, clinical, and work in other industries – is more likely in the near future with fewer full-time academic job opportunities in the field of psychology, said Steven N. Broder, Ph.D., clinical associate professor of counseling, psychology, and applied human development at Boston University’s School of Education. “It’s the nature of the world and the changing economy; people will be doing a variety of things,” Broder said. But, there are also some personality factors that should be considered when choosing a hybrid career versus a traditional full-time academic or clinical [More]

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