Articles, Leading Stories

March 1st, 2010

HealthNet contracts with Beacon Health

By Nan Shnitzler

Reimbursement could suffer Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan has contracted with Beacon Health Strategies to administer behavioral health programs for its MassHealth and Commonwealth Care members effective March 1. Beacon is inviting providers to join its network, but some providers are dismayed by the lower reimbursement rates being offered. A licensed psychologist in western Mass., who asked not to be identified, says that compared with what he had been receiving from HealthNet, Beacon’s rate for an initial diagnostic interview was 26 percent less; for a family or couples session, 12 percent less; for an individual session, 10 percent less. “The [More]

March 1st, 2010

Geriatric program meets community need

By Ami Albernaz

An inpatient geriatric psychiatry program at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Mass., launched last Sept. is filling a void in care for older adults in southeastern Mass. facing acute emotional or cognitive problems and highlighting the value of providing specialized, integrated care for these adults. The 16-bed unit serves patients, most ages 65 and older, who show signs of dementia with behavioral disturbance, significant depression or anxiety or other marked changes in behavior. The patients are assessed and treated by a team including a psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, clinical social workers, nurses and an occupational therapist, with the goal of helping [More]

March 1st, 2010

Report documents sexual victimization of youths in custody

By Elinor Nelson

It was 24 years ago at age 12 that Troy Erik Isaac of Los Angeles was first gang raped by other youths while in California state custody. “I was a troubled youth,” he says now. “No counselors pulled me to the side and said that because of the way you look and sound you may get hurt,” and over the years, the abuse from other youths continued. Isaac describes a system where “often there was no oversight,” and where many juvenile workers would break up fights or riots but didn’t seem to consider rape to be all that important. And [More]

March 1st, 2010

Increased data connects food and cognitive behavior

By Jennifer E Chase

“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are.” When epicurean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote that statement in 1826, he didn’t mean he could literally divine who you were based on what you cooked, but he did imply that what we consume bears on our well being. His inference became the de facto maxim for anyone believing good health requires good food. Today, research is making his “you are what you eat” mantra as much about eating’s effects on our mental health as on our bodies, linking the potential for altering our moods by altering our foods. “I have [More]

March 1st, 2010

Homeless assistance programs are funded again

By Pamela Berard

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) renewed millions in grant funding for homeless assistance programs throughout New England. The funding, announced at the end of December, was part of nearly $1.4 billion to support 6,400 existing programs nationwide through HUD’s Continuum of Care programs. HUD provided the renewal grants to local programs to prevent any interruption in federal assistance. This was the first time HUD announced the renewal and new grants separately, so as not to delay funding to the existing programs. HUD’s Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively and provide permanent and transitional housing to [More]

March 1st, 2010

APA president outlines priorities for 2010

By Ami Albernaz

Like most assuming a leadership post, Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D., the relatively new president of the American Psychological Association, has a big agenda. In 2010, she hopes to help devise a useful framework for evaluating psychological service outcomes and to bring awareness to and develop resources for family caregivers. She is testing out a Wiki platform that will help psychologists more easily locate useful resources and even plans to add a few friendly touches to this year’s APA convention, including a “bring-the-family” event and collaborative workshops. A former nurse and longtime health psychologist who lives and practices in Princeton, N.J., [More]

March 1st, 2010

Psychologist/author spotlights hope

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Hope – it’s one of those words that brings to mind different ideas for different people. There are many definitions of hope – from blind faith to a wish for something better, to a certainty that everything will work out for the best. A strictly human emotion, hope is the ability to see a better future, to see a path out of darkness, and, as such, is key to an individual’s survival. For Anthny Scioli, Ph.D., a professor of clinical psychology at Keene State College and member of the graduate faculty at the University of Rhode Island, hope is so [More]

February 1st, 2010

Surgeries for OCD risky, but offer hope

By Ami Albernaz

For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients who have exhausted all other treatment options, surgery offers great potential and poses great risk. For doctors shepherding along the precarious surgical procedures, successfully balancing the possible risks and rewards for patients will likely determine the future course of the work. Surgery has allowed some OCD sufferers to live a more normal life – to attend college, to travel, to rebuild relationships with family and friends. Yet for others, the side effects can be severe: memory deficits, edema, even seizure disorder. (In many cases, the side effects disappear in time). “We go out of our way [More]

February 1st, 2010

Proposed changes to Vt. legislation address mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Vermont’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) has proposed some legislative changes in hopes of expediting and simplifying processes involving individuals with mental health issues. One of the existing laws allows voluntary admission for individuals under the age of 14 if they give written consent with the understanding that they will become inpatients and are doing so under no duress. DMH Commissioner Michael Hartman reports some misuse of this practice. “We were seeing situations where six-year olds were signing consent,” he says. “I was given a copy of a consent signed with a crayon.” DMH is suggesting that individuals under the [More]

February 1st, 2010

Stimulus money will fund Rhode Island Early Head Start

By Elinor Nelson

The most vulnerable population in R.I. is about to get a leg up – or at least a tiny percentage of them will. Federal stimulus money totaling $1.6 million will be funding an expansion of R.I.’s Early Head Start program, which will provide for the program to serve another 80 families. But, that still leaves more than 90 percent of R.I.’s most impoverished infants and toddlers without these services. But for those recipients, Early Head Start offers a range of services that can make a difference for a struggling family. “Research shows positive outcomes for these families,” says Rhonda Farrell, [More]

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