Leading Stories, Articles

June 11th, 2018

Revenue to focus on increasing inpatient capacity

By Pamela Berard

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) gave the go-ahead for the University of Vermont (UVM) Health Network to move forward on a project that would use the Network’s extra revenue from 2017 to increase inpatient mental health capacity in Vermont. The GMCB, established by the Vermont Legislature in 2011, is charged with reducing the rate of health care cost growth in Vermont while ensuring the state maintains a high-quality, accessible health care system. Vermont’s hospital budgets are regulated by the GMCB. When health care facilities exceed allowable budgeted net patient revenues, they are subject to review and possible regulatory action, [More]

May 11th, 2018

New behavioral units designed to enhance care

By Pamela Berard

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, opened its new pediatric behavioral unit in early 2018 and is on track to open a new adult behavioral unit in 2019, as part of a three-year, $12 million improvement project. Project funding was partially funded through a capital campaign. Improvements include the relocation and remodeling of the pediatric and adult behavioral units, which will move to the main hospital; as well as renovations and expansion for the building supporting oncology, rheumatology, infusion, and other outpatient services. The new 13-bed pediatric behavioral unit provides specialized care for children and adolescents. It features [More]

April 9th, 2018

Helping to manage fear and anxiety

By Phyllis Hanlon

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida rocked the country and launched calls for stricter gun laws and better security measures in the nation’s schools. While such events are rare, all schools experience their share of crises on a smaller scale that challenge students’ well-being. To address a spectrum of situations, schools should implement a comprehensive plan that engages students, teachers and parents, and creates an environment of trust in partnership with community agencies. Arlene Silva, Ph.D, NCSP, chair in the school psychology department at William James College, emphasized that proactive measures are the best practice. “Number one is preparation,” [More]

February 8th, 2018

Rural Massachusetts experiences psychiatric bed increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Across the Commonwealth, particularly in rural areas, the need for more inpatient care for patients with mental health issues continues to grow. In recent months, small towns in the central part of the state have seen an uptick in the number of psychiatric inpatient beds and services. In October 2015, Heywood Healthcare in Gardner purchased a former teaching convent in Petersham that had housed the Sisters of Assumption. Rebecca Bialicki, Ph.D, vice president for Community Health and Chief Change Agent at Heywood Healthcare, noted that the property encompasses 21 acres and a 75,000 square foot building with two wings. “It [More]

February 7th, 2018

Grants to NAMI Rhode Island fund youth programs

By Pamela Berard

Two recent grants will help NAMI Rhode Island, the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, continue to enhance mental health education programs for young people. A $15,000 Rhode Island Foundation grant will allow NAMI to increase training opportunities and add presenters for Ending the Silence, a classroom program that was first developed by an Illinois NAMI chapter and is now one of the national organization’s signature education and support programs. “We were trained up on this program for the first time last year and we saw the promise in it, because it offers some new things that [More]

February 5th, 2018

More work to be done to meet need for child mental health services

By Janine Weisman

No clinician would dispute using the word “crisis” to describe the reality that despite greater public awareness about mental disorders in youth, many young people with severe mental disorders never receive the specialty mental health care they need. “I think there has been a crisis for some time,” said Robert P. Franks, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC) in Boston and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Professional Affairs. “Most estimates are that only 20 to 40 percent of kids that need mental health services get them.” As many as [More]