Articles, Leading Stories

June 1st, 2013

The Brattleboro Retreat addresses deficiencies

By Phyllis Hanlon

In response to a complaint, the Vermont Division of Licensing Protection completed a survey on Feb. 21, 2013 to determine if the Brattleboro Retreat met the Conditions of Participation for Psychiatric Hospitals. Peter Albert, senior vice president of Government Affairs at the Retreat says, “After an on-site survey in February by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Brattleboro Retreat received a letter on March 13 citing deficiencies. The Retreat has submitted a Plan of Correction and CMS conducted a follow-up survey the week of April 15. We are awaiting the CMS report in response to the Plan [More]

June 1st, 2013

Task force tackles integration of behavioral health, primary care

By Pamela Berard

After months of collecting input, a Massachusetts task force is developing recommendations for the integration of behavioral health (mental health and substance use) and primary care for adults, children and families, within the context of service delivery strategies and payment reforms. The goal is to improve access and outcomes for those who face mental illness or substance issues. The nation is undergoing significant health care reform under 2010’s Affordable Care Act, modeled after Massachusetts’ 2006 health care insurance reform law. Massachusetts entered the next chapter in health care reform with the adoption of Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, [More]

June 1st, 2013

Salve Regina University to offer master’s degree in ABA

By Janine Weisman

Salve Regina University this fall will introduce a new master’s degree program in applied behavioral analysis (ABA), making the private Catholic co-educational university in Newport the first Rhode Island higher education institution offering graduate training in this fast growing area of psychology. Eighteen of the program’s 36 credits are courses and practicum experience required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) to sit for the national certification exam. Salve will also offer a certificate of advanced graduate studies (CAGS) in ABA for students with a master’s degree in a related field seeking national certification as an applied behavior analyst. The [More]

June 1st, 2013

ADHD diagnoses increase but is that rise because of awareness?

By Pamela Berard

ADHD diagnosis rates continue to climb among school-aged children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a 2011-2012 study of children’s health issues, interviewing more than 76,000 parents nation-wide, and will release its report this spring. The New York Times used the agency’s raw data to compile results and reported a 16 percent rise in ADHD diagnosis since 2007 and a 41 percent increase in the past decade, with 11 percent of children overall having received an ADHD medical diagnosis. Approximately two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis are receiving prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall. The diagnosis [More]

June 1st, 2013

Study shows increase of autism, reinforces need for resources

By Jo Kadlecek

When Advocates for Autism Massachusetts (AFAM) organized its “Annual Autism and Acceptance Day” this past April at Boston’s State House, they wanted to achieve two things: a deeper acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and a push for legislation that assists those affected. The event – which drew nearly 200 state representatives, families and advocates – came just weeks after the Center for Disease Control released a new study, “Changes in Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-aged Children: 2007 to 2011-2012.” The report, co-authored by the Health Resources and Services Administration, cited an increase of diagnosed [More]

June 1st, 2013

Study links childhood autism to mothers’ abuse

By Rivkela Brodsky

Abused girls who go on to become mothers are more likely to have children with autism, suggests a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. And women who experienced the most severe physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in childhood are 3.5 times more likely to have children with autism as women who didn’t experience any abuse, according to the study. While about two percent of women reported the most serious abuse, even women in the top 25 percent of abuse severity – which included mostly women who experienced more moderate levels of abuse – were 60 [More]

June 1st, 2013

Autism linked to grandfathers

By Greg Hitchcock

A Swedish study links a child’s autism to his/her grandfather’s age at the time their grandchildren were born. The research conducted by Avi Reichenberg, Ph.D. and Andrew Adesman, M.D., concluded that men who fathered a child at the age of 50 or older were more likely to have a grandchild with autism, suggesting that the risk may be passed down through successive generations. Men who fathered a son at the age of 50 or older had a 67 percent higher risk of having a grandchild with Autism Spectrum Disorder compared to men who fathered a child as young adults. “These [More]

June 1st, 2013

Goal of program is to make technology useful for kids

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2010, the Kaiser Foundation reported that children spend more than seven hours each day with entertainment media, including time on a computer at home or at school, playing video games, watching television or using a mobile device. If multitasking is taken into account, like texting while watching a show, that number climbs to more than 10 hours. According to Randy Kulman, Ph.D., president and clinical director of South County Child and Family Consultants in Wakefield, R.I., and author of “Train Your Brain for Success: A Teenager’s Guide to Executive Functions,” we have to accept that digital media is not [More]

May 1st, 2013

Treating mental illness in the elderly: achieving stability through inpatient care

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that approximately 5.6 to 8 million Americans 65 and older have mental health or substance use disorders; those figures are expected to double in the next 15 years, precipitating a tremendous burden on an already overburdened health care system. Although community-based care is preferred, inpatient care still remains important as a line of defense in stabilizing individuals and creating long-term solutions. McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. has two separate geriatric psychiatry units, one serving individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and the other for patients with non-dementia related psychiatric diagnoses, according to Don Davidoff, [More]

May 1st, 2013

Smoking bans at facilities are more common

By Pamela Berard

After initial controversy, the practice of prohibiting smoking in inpatient psychiatric facilities has taken hold. In decades past, many considered smoking one of the few indulgences allowed patients. So when psychiatric facilities began prohibiting tobacco about a decade ago, they faced resistance, and in some cases, lawsuits. The tide has turned: 2011 survey results from the Research Institute of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors show that of respondents, almost 80 percent of state psychiatric facilities prohibit smoking – up from about 40 percent in 2006. The culture has changed, says Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Commissioner [More]

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