Articles, Leading Stories

July 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]

July 1st, 2013

N.H. surveys gauge consumer satisfaction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Even with severe financial cutbacks to the mental health system, it appears that customer satisfaction with New Hampshire’s community mental health centers, or CMHC’s, has remained high over the past half decade. Wrapping up its fifth contracted year of conducting surveys on consumer satisfaction levels with the state’s community mental health centers, the Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has released the results from the most recent year. Funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the IOD had contracted with the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services to survey [More]

July 1st, 2013

Law helps military rape survivors receive benefits

By Rivkela Brodsky

Legislation aimed at helping survivors of military sexual assault get VA benefits for treatment passed unanimously in the US House on June 4. Named for a Navy veteran who was raped and who fought 23 years for benefits after reporting the incident and being raped again in retaliation, the Ruth Moore Act, sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) would lower the burden of proof to receive benefits. “Our bill specifically says if you suffered a sexual trauma basically you shouldn’t be denied the assistance that you need,” says Pingree. “It’s a fundamental promise we make to people who serve in [More]

July 1st, 2013

Study: Belief in God aids treatment

By Jo Kadlecek

Belief in God or a higher power might not be on the list of prescribed treatments for depression or anxiety but a recent study concludes it can improve outcomes for psychiatric patients. Published this past spring in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the study – entitled “A test of faith in God and treatment: The relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcome” – surveyed 159 patients over the course of a year at Harvard Medical School affiliate McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. and explored the impact faith had on treatment expectations. Led by David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., a [More]

July 1st, 2013

New Connecticut outpatient clinic planned

By Janine Weisman

A nonprofit, community behavioral health agency serving central and northeastern Connecticut hopes to break ground this fall on a new $6.7 million outpatient mental health clinic in Manchester. Connecticut’s State Bond Commission approved $3 million in April for Community Health Resources (CHR) to build a 30,000 square foot clinic at 444 Center St., a vacant lot behind Superior Court, once the site of the former Willie’s Steak House. A commercial loan and fundraising will make up the difference in the cost of the project which has a fall 2014 projected opening. CHR bought the 1.89-acre lot in December 2012 for [More]

July 1st, 2013

MSPP’s Stanley Berman, Ph.D., excited about new position

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In recognition of the role he has played in helping the school to both grow and thrive during his tenure, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology has named Stanley Berman, Ph.D. as vice president for academic affairs. Berman has been a faculty member of the school since 1987 and served for the past eight years as the dean of programs of advanced graduate study. He was integral in creating and supporting the development of a number of programs including a master’s degree in global mental health, a clinical health psychology concentration in the Department of Clinical Psychology as well as [More]

June 1st, 2013

Parity is topic of public forum

By Phyllis Hanlon

On April 3, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) presented its 9th annual public health leadership forum titled “Mental Health: Achieving Parity in Principle and in Practice.” A cross-section of noted clinicians and administrators in mental and public health painted a dire picture of existing conditions and offered suggestions for improving the landscape. In his opening remarks, Richard V. Aghababian, M.D., MMS president, drew attention to recent violent events related to mental health, specifically the shooting at Newtown, Conn. and emphasized the importance of establishing a relationship between public health and mental health. To illustrate Aghababian’s point, Jeffrey S. Wisch, M.D., [More]

June 1st, 2013

Green Mountain Care details prompt questions

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In May 2011, Vermont passed what appeared to be groundbreaking health care reform, going beyond the federally mandated changes that are beginning to take place across the country. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as ObamaCare, includes an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, a requirement for all individuals to secure coverage and health care exchanges, where individuals and smaller companies can purchase insurance at lower rates than they could on the open market. While the ACA introduces many changes and updates to the current system, it falls short of the sweeping reform that some believe is needed. Along with [More]

June 1st, 2013

Proposals aim to keep guns from people with mental illness

By Janine Weisman

Massachusetts gun control proposals to close background check system gaps focus largely on preventing mass shootings like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. They also raise privacy concerns in a state that currently does not submit mental health information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Gov. Deval Patrick’s comprehensive gun control bill would bring Massachusetts into compliance with the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, the federal law passed after the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy. One provision would require courts to transmit mental health adjudications and orders to the state’s criminal justice information system to [More]

June 1st, 2013

Coverage for neuropsychological testing is dwindling

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a debate that has been brewing for the past few years, it seems that insurance companies have had the deciding word. Three years ago, Russel A. Barkley, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at Medical University of South Carolina, wrote about a lack of validity for the use of neuropsychological testing for the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD (“Impairment in occupational functioning and adult ADHD: the predictive utility of executive function (EF) ratings versus EF tests,” Clinical Neuropsychology, May 2010). He concluded that testing did not identify the disorder as reliably as self-reported scales. “The controversy started in the [More]

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