Articles, Leading Stories

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]

July 1st, 2013

Legislation seeks to curb treatment interruption

By Pamela Berard

Proposed Massachusetts legislation would allow behavioral health patients to continue receiving the same care when insurance companies do not renew provider contracts. Current state law prohibits health plans from terminating contracts without due cause, but the proposed Bill H. 1783, filed by Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton), would require insurance carriers to give at least 180 days notice to behavioral health providers if a contract is not going to be renewed and to show cause for not renewing provider contracts and demonstrate that any lawful communication concerning regulations and statutes that affect service delivery is not a factor in said non-renewal. [More]

July 1st, 2013

Report helps consumers compare insurers

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2012, the Vermont legislature passed a law requiring insurance companies who do business in the state to complete an annual report to help consumers compare insurers. The reports include statistics on how many claims are filed, how many are denied, appealed and eventually paid. Insurance companies must also report their marketing and advertising expenses, lobbying and legal expenses and political contributions. Salaries and bonuses paid to top management and board members are included as well. The information being reported is nothing that the insurance companies don’t already report, in various forms, to the state’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR). [More]

July 1st, 2013

DSM-5 stirs some controversy

By Phyllis Hanlon

After more than 10 years of discussions, committee meetings and revisions, the American Psychiatric Association finalized the DSM-5 and released it at the annual meeting in May. Although the project involved a cross-section of experts in psychiatry, psychology and science, the manual has been met with both open arms and skepticism from a variety of mental health professionals as well as some individuals in the general public. Two weeks before release of the DSM-5, broadcast and print media headlines proclaimed widespread criticism of the manual and announced that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which funds a significant amount [More]

July 1st, 2013

Program targets children’s needs

By Susan Gonsalves

A program to address emotional and behavioral issues in children has met with success in three Church Street School classrooms. The interventionist initiative in Hamden, Conn. places behavioral health specialists in classrooms to help students who exhibit mental health problems to focus and allow teachers to instruct without distractions. The program is part of the Educational Care Collaborative, whose goal is to provide continuity of care on emotional issues for children and families at home, in school and within the community. Funded by the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven and other smaller grants, ECC was founded by Joy Fopiano, [More]

July 1st, 2013

R.I. hospitals name top health issues

By Janine Weisman

Access to health care and the need for mental health services are among the most important health issues facing Rhode Island, finds a new Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) by the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI). The Affordable Care Act requires tax-exempt hospitals to conduct CHNAs every three years and submit their findings and implementation plan with their Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Rhode Island’s 14 hospitals are all non-profits belonging to HARI and collaborated on a comprehensive state-wide assessment between Sept. 2012 and May 2013. Findings will guide community health improvement initiatives, says HARI Senior Vice President Michael Souza. [More]

July 1st, 2013

Hampstead Hospital launches Recovery Matters program

By Howard Newman

Hampstead Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in southern N.H., recently launched a new residential treatment program for adult men and women who are managing substance abuse and addiction. The program, Recovery Matters, utilizes a highly-structured approach that combines therapeutic groups, individual therapy and family meetings. Recovery Matters started on April 15 and can house up to 10 adults. The clinical team, which rotates through three, eight-hour shifts per day, includes master’s level clinicians, licensed drug and alcohol counselors, nurses, recreational therapists and a psychiatrist. “The main reason [for adding this program] was being able to provide a resource for people [More]

July 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]

July 1st, 2013

N.H. surveys gauge consumer satisfaction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Even with severe financial cutbacks to the mental health system, it appears that customer satisfaction with New Hampshire’s community mental health centers, or CMHC’s, has remained high over the past half decade. Wrapping up its fifth contracted year of conducting surveys on consumer satisfaction levels with the state’s community mental health centers, the Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has released the results from the most recent year. Funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the IOD had contracted with the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services to survey [More]

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