Articles, Leading Stories

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]

June 1st, 2013

Global VA licensure beneficial for psychologists

By Phyllis Hanlon

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average American moves approximately 14 times in a lifetime. Organizational transfers, new job opportunities and a search for a more suitable climate rank as the top reasons for relocation. Psychologists considering leaving their current state for a different one face the issue of licensure. Because every state has its own specific requirements, psychologists may be forced to reapply for licensure in the new location, possibly involving considerable paperwork, effort and additional cash investment. An option that psychologists might want to consider is employment in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which offers its psychologists [More]

June 1st, 2013

Bill allows psychologists, physicians to have joint practice

By Pamela Berard

Proposed Connecticut legislation would allow psychologists to be in joint practice with physicians. The Senate passed the bill in May and the House of Representatives was considering it at press time. Currently in Connecticut, psychologists and physicians can have a joint location, but they cannot be partners. The legislation would redefine “professional corporation” to include corporations that are organized for the purpose of providing professional services by physicians and psychologists. About half of the states currently have similar statutes, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Traci Cipriano, J.D., Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and director of professional affairs for the [More]

June 1st, 2013

Bombing first responders: seeking counseling more “normative”

By Phyllis Hanlon

A couple of weeks following the Boston Marathon bombing, Amy E. Kahn, Psy.D., coordinator of the Western Mass. Trauma Recovery Network (TRN) in Northampton, joined a team of firefighters from Boston and New York and visited every Boston precinct to administer mental health counseling. In the past, such a scenario was rare, but since 9/11, first responders have realized the importance of post-trauma counseling. According to Kahn, “Heroes put aside their emotions. They have to be clear thinking in the moment. Later, all the feelings come barreling in. There’s a cost to that.” The group and confidential, one-on-one sessions Kahn [More]

June 1st, 2013

Psychiatrist proposes psychocardiology subspecialty

By Susan Gonsalves

Despite four decades of research examining the link between heart disease and mental health conditions, Angelos Halaris, M.D., Ph.D., believes more must be done to raise awareness and promote meaningful action. Halaris, medical director of adult psychiatry and professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, formally proposed creation of a new subspecialty called psychocardiology at the joint congress of the World Psychiatric Association and International Neuropsychiatric Association in Athens, Greece. His proposal was offered in conjunction with study findings showing that an inflammatory biomarker, interleukin-6 was significantly higher in the [More]

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]

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