Articles, Leading Stories

February 1st, 2017

Repairing, rebuilding and restoring at heart of psychology of relationships

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the American Psychological Association, healthy marriages can be beneficial for physical and mental health and for offspring’s well-being. Unfortunately, the APA also reports that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. For any couple facing rocky times, professional intervention might help get the relationship back on track. The grand themes that bring couples to therapy have remained the same through the years, although there are variations, according to Bruce Chalmers, Ph.D., private practitioner in South Burlington, Vermont. “People come when there has been some kind of crisis,” he said, noting that common triggers include the death [More]

February 1st, 2017

Massachusetts high court upholds privatization plan

By Janine Weisman

A recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision clears the way for replacing the last state-run mental health crisis teams with staff employed by two private vendor human service agencies, a move projected to save the state more than $7 million. On Dec. 9, 2016, the state’s high court upheld State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s March 2016 approval of a privatization plan for emergency mental health services in southeastern Massachusetts. Three unions – Service Employees International Union, Local 509, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 93 – challenged Bump’s decision on the grounds [More]

February 1st, 2017

R.I.’s legislative focus includes telehealth services

By Pamela Berard

The Rhode Island Psychological Association 2017 legislative agenda will include a focus on telehealth services as well as the goal of improving the ability of the Board of Psychology to investigate and adjudicate disciplinary complaints faster. Peter M. Oppenheimer, Ph.D., chair of the RIPA Legislative Committee, said for the second consecutive year, RIPA will introduce the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), which enables interstate telepsychology practice for psychologists in participating states. PSYPACT, approved in 2015 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, becomes operational once seven states enact it. In 2016, Arizona became the first state to enact PSYPACT [More]

February 1st, 2017

Maine Gov. LePage intends to move stepdown unit to Bangor

By Janine Weisman

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has moved on after abandoning plans to build a proposed 21-bed stepdown unit next to the Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center in Augusta. As in nearly 80 miles to the north. Two days before last Christmas, the LePage administration revealed it had picked a site in Bangor to build the psychiatric facility for forensic patients in state custody who no longer need hospital-level care. The new facility is part of the effort to free up space and resolve safety issues that led to the loss of Riverview’s hospital certification in 2013 along with $20 million in [More]

February 1st, 2017

Possible rate cuts of concern in Maine

By Janine Weisman

The Maine Psychological Association’s (MePA) top legislative priority for 2017 can be found on page two of a consultant’s report studying reimbursement rates for mental health services through the state’s Medicaid program. The hourly reimbursement rate for neuropsychological and psychological testing through publicly funded MaineCare health insurance would decrease from $79.20 to $60.41 under a recommendation in the March 2016 report by Phoenix consulting firm Burns & Associates. “The waiting list for Maine-Care for those types of services are already a year long. So if you cut the reimbursement rate dramatically, nobody will offer the services,” said MePA Executive Director [More]

February 1st, 2017

William James College announces availability of scholarships

By Pamela Berard

William James College in Massachusetts announced its Multicultural and Veterans Mental Health Scholarships, aimed at increasing the number of individuals trained and committed to providing mental health treatment for underserved minorities and military veterans, who experience complex mental health issues but often are reluctant to seeking treatment if they feel disconnected from those providing services, according to the college. Nicholas Covino, Psy.D., president of William James College, said he hopes the scholarships inspire and empower students to commit themselves to serve historically marginalized populations. The college cites figures that show almost 90 percent of psychologists are classified as Caucasian/non-Latino. “In [More]

February 1st, 2017

Four New England states among nation’s healthiest

By Janine Weisman

Massachusetts ranked second after Hawaii as the healthiest overall state in the nation in the latest America’s Health Rankings Annual Report released in December 2016. Connecticut ranked third, Minnesota fourth, Vermont fifth and New Hampshire sixth in the 27th annual assessment of the country’s health on a state-by-state basis. The report published by the United Health Foundation measures how health benchmarks in each state change year to year. All New England states landed in the top half of the rankings with Rhode Island at 14th and Maine at 22nd. Maine had the largest decline in rank over the previous year, [More]

February 1st, 2017

ICD-11 release delayed until 2018

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2015, the United States belatedly joined the rest of the world in implementing the most updated version of the World Health Organization’s coding system for medical diagnoses, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, usually referred to as the ICD-10. Although nearly every other country in the world had been using the system since 1994, the process was delayed in this country because of the far more complicated health care system here. The WHO’s ICD coding is used around the world for health diagnoses to ensure that every country is in sync with the most up-to-date research and medical [More]

February 1st, 2017

Addiction Campus opens in Massachusetts

By Rivkela Brodsky

Addiction Campuses, a company based in Brentwood, Tenn., offering comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment programs at facilities around the country has opened its fourth national location in Cummington, Mass., called Swift River. The company, which specializes in alcohol, illegal drug and prescription drug addiction treatment, has three other facilities in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas, according to the company’s Web site. “There is a real addiction – especially opioid – epidemic going on in the Northeast, but frankly, it’s really over the entire country,” said Swift River CEO Mark Lancet, MA, NCC, LADC, LPC. “There is a lot a lot of [More]

February 1st, 2017

Surgeon General report: a call to action on addiction

By Rivkela Brodsky

In November 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General for the first time issued a report on alcohol, drugs, and health – calling addiction, “one of America’s most pressing public health issues.” The report, likened to a Surgeon General report on the dangers of smoking issued 50 years ago, was meant as a call to action. The “report aims to shift the way our society thinks about substance misuse and substance use disorders,” reads the report’s executive summary from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, titled “Facing Addiction in America.” The report also reviews information [More]

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