Articles, Leading Stories

August 21st, 2013

Law establishes ‘best practices’ plan

By Rivkela Brodsky

A new law passed in Connecticut aims to establish a ‘best practices’ plan when it comes to treating the mental, emotional and behavioral health of children in the state. The legislation, which was signed by Gov. Dannel Patrick Malloy in June, was developed in part as a response to the Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Dec. 2012. Senate Bill 972 was written to complement the mental health portion of legislation passed earlier this year, a direct response to the shootings which made changes to the state’s laws on guns, security for K-12 public schools and mental health insurance [More]

August 21st, 2013

Exercise program geared toward treatment reluctant veterans

By Susan Gonsalves

The Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass. (Bedford VAMC) will offer an exercise program designed to engage and motivate veterans who shun traditional forms of treatment for mental health problems. Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office awarded a $60,000 grant for the project through the Bedford VA Research Corp. Inc (BRCI), a private non-profit that provides an avenue for VAMC to get funds from non-VA sources. VAMC psychologists Holly Parker, Ph.D. and Ed Federman, Ph.D., developed the project, noting that only 25 percent of veterans receive the help they need for a variety of reasons. “Mental health treatments [More]

August 21st, 2013

New Vermont collaboration integrates care management

By Jo Kadlecek

It used to be that someone with a heart condition needed a different health care provider if they also struggled with clinical depression. A new collaboration in Vermont has changed that situation. Last spring, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) teamed up with the Brattleboro Retreat to provide comprehensive care that went into effect July 1, 2013. The new organization – known as Vermont Collaborative Care (VCC) and jointly owned by both non-profits – integrates psychiatric and substance abuse services with those of traditional health care. The move acknowledges the increasing data that links physical and mental health, [More]

August 21st, 2013

Reimbursement, client eligibility issues cause confusion

By Phyllis Hanlon

Issues regarding reimbursement have long plagued psychologists. Recently, some Massachusetts providers have become frustrated over the complex rules regarding “crossover” payments and client eligibility. According to James Leffert, Ed.D., co-chair, advocacy committee of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA), reimbursement issues present “a mystery wrapped in an enigma.” He cites the complicated formula for receiving payment for clients with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or some combination of the three payers. Additionally, he reports confusion over and concern for clients in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program. The federally-funded Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, which is run through Medicaid, is an income-based benefit [More]

August 21st, 2013

Study highlights prevalence of children with mental disorders

By Janine Weisman

Up to one in five U.S. children experience a mental disorder, finds a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report reviewing various federal efforts tracking childhood mental health. “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005-2011,” the first comprehensive report on children’s mental health released last May, estimates $247 billion annually is spent on the 13 to 20 percent of American children living with mental disorders. ADHD (6.8 percent) was the most prevalent parent-reported diagnosis among children aged 3-17 followed by behavioral or conduct problems such as ODD or conduct disorder (3.5 percent), anxiety (3 percent), depression [More]

August 21st, 2013

New commissioner puts focus on system transformation

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Since 2011, after Tropical Storm Irene closed the Vermont State Hospital, the state’s mental health care system has undergone a massive re-structuring. The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin, with input from mental health care professionals, advocates and consumers, took the natural disaster as an opportunity to re-make the entire system following a de-centralized, community-based model. For Paul Dupre, recently named as commissioner for the Department of Mental Health, the changes are also providing opportunities he may not otherwise have had. Dupre, formerly the executive director of the Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS), had been a member of the transformational [More]

August 21st, 2013

Postpartum depression studied in ‘invisible sexual minority’ women

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The average rate of postpartum depression in women in this country is around 13 percent. But, while studies have shown how postpartum depression or PPD, affects women from a variety of socio-economic, racial and cultural backgrounds, there have been remarkably few looking at PPD rates among gay and bisexual women. A recent grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will help rectify that and take it a step further by looking at a group the researchers refer to as ‘invisible sexual minority women,’ those who do not identify as gay or bisexual but have a history of relationships with [More]

August 21st, 2013

Genetics & counseling: a sensible approach

By Phyllis Hanlon

Angelina Jolie’s surprise announcement of her prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy has shined a spotlight on genetic testing. Like this celebrity, more people with family histories of serious medical conditions are seeking information about their chances of developing a life-threatening illness. As technology and research develop new detection methods, valuable knowledge is becoming available to the general public. But this knowledge can spark emotional chaos. Andrea Farkas Patenaude, Ph.D., director of psychology research and clinical services with the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard [More]

August 21st, 2013

Butler to open new Patient Care Center

By Janine Weisman

Rhode Island’s largest psychiatric hospital will add 26 new adult inpatient beds to its capacity with the scheduled October 1 opening of a new 49,000 square-foot Patient Care Center. The new beds will increase Butler Hospital’s current licensed 117-bed capacity to 143. But for the last several years, Butler has had to receive a waiver from the state health department to go above its current licensed capacity. “We have been very full. It is very hard to get a bed here,” says Lisa B. Shea, M.D., deputy medical director, quality & regulation. In 2009, Butler saw a nearly 10 percent [More]

July 1st, 2013

“Enduring” trauma: long-term effects unknown

By Phyllis Hanlon

Imagine being held captive for just one hour. Now compound that intense fear and terror by 10 years, as in the case of the three recently rescued women in Cleveland. The general public becomes overwhelmed with radio, television, online and newspaper coverage of such events and may come to believe they are common. In truth, these are rare instances and understanding the long-term effects of captivity, brutality and isolation may derive from other traumatic situations, such as being a prisoner of war, living in a cult or a household wracked with domestic violence. When abducted, these women in Cleveland were [More]

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