October 1st, 2013

Task force identifies priorities for quality of care

By Pamela Berard

The Behavioral Health Integration Task Force in Massachusetts submitted recommendations aimed at improving health care quality and outcomes – while also controlling costs – to the state legislature and the newly created Health Policy Commission. The task force, chaired by Department of Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler, M.A., J.D., was created under Chapter 224 of the Acts and Resolves of 2012, which focuses on improving the quality and efficiency of health care delivery and payment systems – including the integration of primary care with behavioral health – as the next chapter in health care reform. Fowler says the recommendations were [More]

April 1st, 2013

Task force member discusses health care reform efforts

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Issues with the health care system are coming to a head in this country. As health care delivery evolves in response to calls and mandates for far-reaching reform, concerns of cost and creating a system ready to handle the aging baby boomer and Gen-X populations are taking center stage. To keep pace with the changes and to ensure that psychology plays a role in the evolution, state psychological associations have stepped up more to participate in the discussion. The Rhode Island Psychological Association recently created a task force of members working to have a say in the decision-making process. New [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Task force offers recommendations to improve services

By Pamela Berard

A Connecticut task force created by legislation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings released its final report featuring 47 recommendations designed to improve behavioral health services for young adults. The Task Force to Study the Provision of Behavioral Health Services for Young Adults was created under An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety to analyze and make recommendations for behavioral health services for people ages 16-25. It was one of several initiatives created after the Sandy Hook shootings. Task force member Marcy Kane, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, vice president of child services at Wellmore Behavioral Health and [More]

March 1st, 2016

Task force recommends depression screening for adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, should be annually screened for depression, according to a recommendation by the U.S Preventive Services Task Force. The organization cited the prevalence of major depressive disorder among adults in high income countries, its impact on quality of life for patients and their families and the higher risk of death by suicide or an inability to control other health issues. The USPSTF commissioned a systematic review to update a 2009 recommendation that focused on the direct evidence about the benefits and harms of depression screening. The organization also reviewed the accuracy of depression screening instruments. [More]

April 1st, 2016

Task force recommends early autism screening

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in 68 children born in the U.S. was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics and Political Science estimate that more than 3.5 million Americans have ASD. They also report that cost of care may be as high as $2 million over the course of the individual’s lifetime. That figure is in addition to the estimated $250,000 it takes to raise a child these days. Additionally, between 2000 and 2010, rates of ASD increased 119.4 percent, according to [More]

April 1st, 2017

Task force studies custody status of voluntarily admitted children

By Pamela Berard

Under proposed Connecticut legislation, a task force will study voluntary admissions to the Department of Children and Families and determine whether general law amendments are needed to prohibit DCF from requesting or requiring that the parent or guardian of voluntarily admitted children terminate parental rights or transfer legal custody of the child to DCF. The task force is part of a substitute bill stemming from earlier proposed legislation (H.B. 6297) heard in the Joint Committee on Children and introduced by State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas, to prohibit DCF from “requesting, recommending or requiring” a parent/guardian terminate parental rights or transfer [More]

June 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

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]

March 1st, 2013

Task force working on mental health legislation

By Pamela Berard

State and national lawmakers are mulling legislation on gun control, mental health care and benefits for first responders in the wake of Connecticut’s Sandy Hook shootings. Connecticut legislators created a Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety. The task force designated three working groups to focus on gun violence prevention, school security and mental health. The groups will review current law and make recommendations to the overall committee, which will provide recommendations to Senate and House leadership. The goal is to produce a bipartisan emergency certified bill that had not been filed at press time. During a [More]

July 1st, 2014

Task forces address hoarding

By Rivkela Brodsky

Task forces to address hoarding in communities are piling up around the nation. So says hoarding expert Randy Frost, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Smith College in Mass., who estimates about 100 across the U.S. “They are springing up all over the place,” says Frost, co-author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” “They are populated primarily by service professionals who run into the problem of hoarding.” That can include first responders, health department personnel, housing officials, child and family services, mental health and animal welfare agencies, he says. While Massachusetts has several hoarding task forces, other states [More]