Articles, Leading Stories

July 1st, 2013

New Connecticut outpatient clinic planned

By Janine Weisman

A nonprofit, community behavioral health agency serving central and northeastern Connecticut hopes to break ground this fall on a new $6.7 million outpatient mental health clinic in Manchester. Connecticut’s State Bond Commission approved $3 million in April for Community Health Resources (CHR) to build a 30,000 square foot clinic at 444 Center St., a vacant lot behind Superior Court, once the site of the former Willie’s Steak House. A commercial loan and fundraising will make up the difference in the cost of the project which has a fall 2014 projected opening. CHR bought the 1.89-acre lot in December 2012 for [More]

July 1st, 2013

MSPP’s Stanley Berman, Ph.D., excited about new position

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In recognition of the role he has played in helping the school to both grow and thrive during his tenure, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology has named Stanley Berman, Ph.D. as vice president for academic affairs. Berman has been a faculty member of the school since 1987 and served for the past eight years as the dean of programs of advanced graduate study. He was integral in creating and supporting the development of a number of programs including a master’s degree in global mental health, a clinical health psychology concentration in the Department of Clinical Psychology as well as [More]

June 1st, 2013

Parity is topic of public forum

By Phyllis Hanlon

On April 3, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) presented its 9th annual public health leadership forum titled “Mental Health: Achieving Parity in Principle and in Practice.” A cross-section of noted clinicians and administrators in mental and public health painted a dire picture of existing conditions and offered suggestions for improving the landscape. In his opening remarks, Richard V. Aghababian, M.D., MMS president, drew attention to recent violent events related to mental health, specifically the shooting at Newtown, Conn. and emphasized the importance of establishing a relationship between public health and mental health. To illustrate Aghababian’s point, Jeffrey S. Wisch, M.D., [More]

June 1st, 2013

Green Mountain Care details prompt questions

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In May 2011, Vermont passed what appeared to be groundbreaking health care reform, going beyond the federally mandated changes that are beginning to take place across the country. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as ObamaCare, includes an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, a requirement for all individuals to secure coverage and health care exchanges, where individuals and smaller companies can purchase insurance at lower rates than they could on the open market. While the ACA introduces many changes and updates to the current system, it falls short of the sweeping reform that some believe is needed. Along with [More]

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]

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