By Phyllis Hanlon
The benefits of engaging in outdoor activities have been well documented. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that play in an outdoor environment enables children “…to explore both their world and their own minds.” AAP adds that outdoor activity can enhance “…creativity, curiosity and associated developmental advances.” Some residential schools are embracing this message and offer a variety of adventure and wilderness programs for children with behavioral issues. The residential program at Mountain Valley Treatment Center in Plainfield, New Hampshire, accepts children with a variety of diagnoses, from anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression to autism, eating disorders, and [More]
By Jennifer E Chase
In a profession regulated by rules and boundaries established by governing bodies (and often, more personal ones practitioners impose on themselves), the legal issues that ensnare today’s psychologist far outnumber what faced their predecessors just 10 years ago. But according to experts in the field – folks who are used to doling out advice to those who dole out advice – pre-emptive thought about one’s actions can mean the difference between legal safety and a legal snafu. Milton L. Kerstein is a 25-year attorney and a managing partner at Kerstein, Coren and Lichtenstein, LLP, in Wellesley, Mass., where he counsels [More]
By Janine Weisman
The state of Maine is seeking federal permission to limit the eligibility of “able bodied” adults for Medicaid benefits to five years among other coverage restrictions designed to lower costs. Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mary C. Mayhew announced the state’s intention to seek demonstration waivers from the federal government in a Jan. 25 letter to then-incoming U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price posted on her state department’s Web site. The waivers would allow Maine to implement a series of proposed reforms changing the benefits and type of access Mainers have to MaineCare, as the [More]
By Rivkela Brodsky
There are several ongoing investigations into allegations of patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital, a public hospital in Middletown, Conn., for the treatment of people dealing with mental illness. Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, and the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities are all investigating these allegations. All three departments will confirm the investigation but will not confirm or provide any other details – if and how many employees have been suspended, and how many patients are at the hospital, citing the ongoing investigation. [More]
By Pamela Berard
The state of Maine stopped MaineCare payments to two behavioral health service agencies pending investigation of fraud allegations and is helping approximately 500 affected clients find alternative providers while the investigation is on-going. In late September, the state stopped MaineCare payments to Umbrella Mental Health Services and AngleZ Behavioral Health Services, both located in the central part of the state, after receiving a credible allegation of fraud for the agencies, says John A. Martins, director, Public and Employee Communications, Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Martins could not specifically detail the allegations or how they were received, but [More]
By Jennifer E Chase
Boston schools are bolstering the psychological services they offer students by enlisting in private therapists – namely from Boston’s The Home for Little Wanderers – to counsel kids in elementary, middle, K-8 and high schools across the city and on school time. With The Home servicing 40 Boston Public School locations as well as parochial and charter schools across the city, the organization is helping children get the mental health services they need by bringing the treatment and intervention straight to them. “School mental health and outpatient providers working in schools has been around for about 20 years,” says Cara [More]
By Edward Stern J.D.
On March 24, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps. One hundred forty four passengers and six crew members died. It’s now believed that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane – killing himself and the people aboard it. Germanwings is a subsidiary of Lufthansa airlines. The co-pilot had a history of depression going back to at least 2009. According to CNN, there are five previous incidents with planes that may have been deliberately crashed by pilots: Nov. 29, 2013, Mozambique Airlines Flight 470, with 27 passengers and six crew members died in Bwabwata game park in Namibia; Oct. 31, [More]
By Pamela Berard
Bournewood Health Systems of Brookline, Massachusetts, will broaden its continuum of care as a result of its recent acquisition by Alita Care, LLC, of Phoenix, Arizona, a national provider of behavioral health services with 16 differentiated programs across the country. Alita Care announced its acquisition of Bournewood in March. In addition to Bournewood, Alita also serves as the parent holding company for Meadows Behavioral Healthcare – a drug rehab and psychological trauma treatment center with a main campus in Arizona – and Sunspire Health, a national network of addiction recovery providers. Bournewood, Sunspire, and The Meadows all operate as independent [More]
By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.
One of the great pleasures of being a hospital psychologist is the opportunity to carry on conversations with patients that go beyond the 50-minute hour to other settings where staff and patients regularly come together. The conversation can start anywhere about anything but once a good idea has been set free, it can bounce around the building and come back to you when you least expect it. This one started in our Wednesday morning community meeting and re-surfaced in the first therapy group of the day. I don’t know where it went from there because my own work took me [More]
By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.
In the dead of winter, Valentine’s Day reminds us of the healing power of love in all of its many forms. Cut through the commercial dross of the manufactured holiday and you might be able to see acts of kindness in places you never thought to look. Avoid print and television news where stories of violence and crime predominate and see what’s happening where you spend your time every day. Take along a guidebook to orient yourself to the landscape of love and stroll the boulevards and back streets of familiar places looking for evidence that we have not forgotten [More]