Leading Stories

April 1st, 2010

New Hampshire studies cost of reducing the prison population

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the country, boasting a property crime rate that is fourth lowest in the nation and a violent crime rate that is third lowest. The crime rates have stayed flat over the past eight years. Yet, even with a stable crime rate, the state’s prison population increased by 31 percent in that same time period. This increase in population, married to the fact that the state is spending double what it spent on corrections eight years ago, has led to a major new study on the causes and solutions to the issue. [More]

April 1st, 2010

R.I. bills prioritize reimbursement, licensing

By Ami Albernaz

Insurance reimbursement and licensing matters are chief among the issues this legislative session that could affect psychologists in Rhode Island. In conjunction with the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals of Rhode Island, an advocacy group, the Rhode Island Psychological Association (RIPA) pushed for the introduction of a bill in January that would serve as an amendment to the state’s parity law and require mental health and substance abuse services to be reimbursed at a rate comparable to medical services. “Some insurance companies pay for behavioral health services on an arbitrary basis compared to medical services,” says Peter Oppenheimer, Ph.D., chairperson [More]

April 1st, 2010

Pilot project brings services to N.H. and Vt. veterans via Web cameras

By Ami Albernaz

Veterans in N.H. and Vt. have not always been able to receive services at VA centers because they are simply too far away. Now, a pilot program is bringing mental health services to a community health center near the Canadian border, allowing veterans there to consult with psychiatrists and psychologists some 128 miles away via Web cameras. The pilot project, funded by an $842,000 federal grant, connects seven staff members of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., with the Northern Tier Center for Health’s clinic in Richford, Vt. The project is available to veterans and members of [More]

April 1st, 2010

Ruling that MMR vaccines don’t cause autism cements research

By Jennifer E Chase

A March 12 ruling by special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims favored the many controlled studies around the world finding no casual relationship between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination (MMR) and the autism found in one out of 110 children in the United States. It’s expected that the ruling will further incite parents of the diagnosed to fight harder, that the shot caused their children’s illness. “The frustration on the part of all families who continue to seek answers is very real and for the families who continue to believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism, this ruling will [More]

April 1st, 2010

Psychologist studies links between DSM panel, drug industry

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As the lines between corporate sponsorship and ethical practice grow fuzzier, it can be difficult to discern what constitutes a conflict of interest in scientific research and practice. With the recent storm still brewing over the apparent lack of transparency with the process of creating the next version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the Senate Finance Committee taking a closer look at the links between panel members and the pharmaceutical industry, the issue of ethical practice takes center stage. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke with one of the leaders [More]

March 1st, 2010

Antidepressants study raises questions

By Ami Albernaz

A dozen years ago, rumblings began that antidepressants perhaps really weren’t as effective as people thought. A 1998 analysis of 38 manufacturer-sponsored studies found that although antidepressants did help people who were depressed, they offered little more boost than did a placebo. Four years later, another analysis, this time also including unpublished studies sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, suggested antidepressants offered even less of an advantage than the minuscule benefit shown in the previous report. The latest salvo came two months ago, when another analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that [More]

March 1st, 2010

Integrated services: a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2001, cooperation and collaboration among Rhode Island’s insurers, physicians and behavioral health specialists has spawned practices that marry medical and psychological services. The coming year holds significant promise for more co-located and fully integrated practices. Nine years ago, Providence-based Psychological Centers, Inc. began co-locating psychologists and other behavioral specialists at select primary care practices across the state. Currently, 15 sites feature both primary care physicians and behavioral specialists. Jeffrey Migneault, Ph.D., director of the Center for Integrated Care (CIC) at Psychological Centers, reports that Paul Block, Ph.D., co-director of Psychological Centers and two physicians have been collaborating for the [More]

March 1st, 2010

N.H. outlines legislative priorities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In New Hampshire, with its 424-person legislative body (the fourth largest in the world behind the British and Indian Parliaments and the U.S. Congress), there are always a number of bills introduced each year that would affect the delivery of mental health care in the state. Bills are introduced for any number of reasons by legislators – from responses to angry constituents to bills they feel would smooth the way for first-responders to do their jobs – and each must be looked at closely by those who would be affected. Currently, the New Hampshire legislature is looking at a number [More]

March 1st, 2010

Parent training, medication help curb dangerous behavior

By Jennifer E Chase

Early parent training on how to best teach and communicate with their child – when combined with medication – may be the key to reducing the destructive behavior that often afflicts children with autism spectrum disorders, according to a multi-site study coordinated by a Yale University professor. Even more promising is the treatment combination’s potential as more cost- and time-effective alternative to applied behavior analysis (ABA) or similar psychological treatments. The study was published in the Dec. 2009 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and chronicled the work of Larry Scahill Ph.D., and his [More]

March 1st, 2010

CPA backs mental health-related legislation

By Phyllis Hanlon

Every year, states across the country focus legislative efforts on health care, safety, children’s issues, economic matters and dozens of other concerns. This year in Connecticut, the state’s psychological association is backing a number of legislative proposals relevant to mental health issues. According to Christine H. Farber, Ph.D., private practitioner in South Windsor, Conn. and one of two legislative chairs for the Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA), her organization has cited support for funding for the Dept. of Children and Families, the Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Office of the Child Advocate and Office of the Healthcare Advocate [More]

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