Articles, Leading Stories

November 1st, 2014

MassHealth woes could be resolved soon

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The nightmare may soon be over for some Massachusetts psychologists and their clients who were placed on a temporary insurance plan that did not cover all their therapy needs. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s online health insurance exchange Web site, was not functioning for new enrollees for subsidized health insurance. The state responded by placing some 31,000 people on a temporary plan until the site could be made operational. The fix, meant to ensure a smooth continuation of coverage for these Massachusetts residents, instead left a gap that the Massachusetts Psychological Association has been fighting to [More]

November 1st, 2014

Program assesses danger in domestic violence calls

By Rivkela Brodsky

Connecticut averages between 12 and 15 domestic violence homicides each year, says Joe Froehlich, director of law enforcement services at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “which is in our estimate 12 or 15 too many.” That is why the coalition received grant money in 2012 to try out a program designed to give police officers responding to a domestic violence call a way to assess the danger a victim might be in and connect them to available services. Originally, 14 police departments and eight domestic violence organizations were trained in the Lethality Assessment Program. That has now expanded to [More]

November 1st, 2014

N.H. establishes domestic violence as distinct crime

By Pamela Berard

Advocates in New Hampshire say a new state law may help to better identify and stop offenders of domestic violence. “Joshua’s Law” – which goes into effect Jan. 1 and was named after a 9-year-old who was murdered by his father during a supervised visitation session – establishes domestic violence as a distinct crime (N.H. was one of more than a dozen states without such classification). While the law carries no enhanced penalties, advocates say that by labeling crimes like assaults or stalking with the domestic violence designation, law enforcement and the judicial system may more easily be able to [More]

November 1st, 2014

Vermont and Conn. launch Web sites as resources

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Recognizing that the Internet has become a first point of contact for many people looking to access mental health care information, the states of Vermont and Connecticut each recently announced the launch of Web sites aimed at creating greater access to information, discussion forums, basic advice and contact or hotline numbers. In Vermont, the Center for Health and Learning has partnered with the Vermont Department of Mental Health in developing a site geared toward suicide prevention. The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VSPC), was recently created as a state-wide resource designed to support prevention efforts and assist communities in implementing suicide [More]

November 1st, 2014

Walden Behavioral Care opens new facility in Peabody

By Howard Newman

Because of an increasing demand for treatment of eating disorders in Boston’s North Shore area, Walden Behavioral Care, LLC has opened a new clinic in Peabody, Mass. Walden Behavioral Care, is a private psychiatric hospital based in Waltham, Mass., and includes satellite facilities in Braintree, Worcester and Northampton, Mass., as well as South Windsor, Conn. Serving patients in New England and New York, the regional facility provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for eating disorders. Full-time hospitalization and 24-hour care are available in the Waltham facility. Paula Vass, LICSW, senior vice president of clinical operations at Walden [More]

November 1st, 2014

Creating new divisions: a lengthy process

By Phyllis Hanlon

From time to time, a group of psychologists lobbies to create a new division that reflects an unaddressed niche area in the profession. The process from concept to reality is time-consuming and labor intensive and requires determination and patience. Sarah Jordan, director, Division Services, Governance Affairs at the American Psychological Association, estimates that she receives three inquiries annually. “But many do not follow through and send in a letter of intent. There have been five divisions in formation that have sent in a letter of intent since 2006,” she says, noting that the last division established was Trauma Psychology eight [More]

November 1st, 2014

Billboards, initiative promote conversations about mental health

By Susan Gonsalves

Massachusetts State Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset) notes that it is common to see electronic signs and other notices advertising the availability of flu shots at drug stores while the availability of mental health help is not similarly displayed. That’s now beginning to change. Seventy electronic billboards on Massachusetts roadways are sending a message: “Good Mental Health. It all starts with a conversation.” The billboard campaign is just one feature of a Department of Mental Health initiative started about a year ago called Community Conversations. It’s is a national movement first launched by President Obama. The purpose of the program is [More]

November 1st, 2014

Sisters accused of improper billing

By Rivkela Brodsky

Twin sisters are accused of billing public agencies in Massachusetts hundreds of thousands of dollars for unlicensed psychological services, often using stolen identities, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley. Nita Guzman and Nina Tischer, 49, formerly of Burlington, pleaded not guilty in September to charges of Medicaid false claims, false claims to public agencies, larceny, identity fraud and unlicensed practice of psychology, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s office. Guzman, through her company New England Psychological Consultants, Inc., is accused of billing Medicaid, Medicare and Lawrence Public Schools more than $550,000 for unlicensed mental health services, according [More]

November 1st, 2014

Marriage Checkup Program outlined

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the divorce rate hovering around 50 percent of all marriages in this country, the road to happy-ever-after is not always smooth. In fact, according to James V. Cordova, Ph.D., professor and chair of psychology and the director for the Center for Couples and Family Research at Clark University, couples who expect to hit a few bumps along the way can make the journey more successful in the long run. Cordova recently completed work as the principal investigator of a one million dollar National Institute of Health grant developing the Marriage Checkup Program. His research, which he is working to [More]

October 1st, 2014

PTSD in children disrupts development, relationships

By Phyllis Hanlon

Many people associate posttraumatic stress disorder with veterans returning from war, victims of violent crime or individuals who’ve been involved in natural disasters. However, adults are not the only ones subject to developing this disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that four percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 have a lifetime prevalence for PTSD. Wellspring and the Arch Bridge School in Bethlehem, Conn., treats adolescent girls and young women with PTSD at two outpatient clinics and residential treatment facilities, according to Daniel Murray, Psy.D., CEO. “Private schools offer the benefit of clinical treatment and [More]

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