November 1st, 2017

Virtual reality: a clinically useful tool for psychologists

By Phyllis Hanlon

Middle-school children from a rural school in Vermont recently “connected” with peers in South Sudan. Some younger students studying ancient civilizations “traveled” to Mayan ruins where they witnessed sacred ceremonies firsthand. Both of these groups engaged in virtual reality (VR) experiences that immerse the individual in a scenario through sight and sound. VR is slowly becoming part of the educational process, not only imparting academic lessons but also fostering a sense of empathy for and understanding of others. Katy Farber, Ed.D., professional development coordinator at the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education at the University of Vermont, explained that these immersive [More]

May 1st, 2010

VSH denied recertification – again

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2003, Vermont State Hospital (VSH) has lost, regained and once again lost its certification. In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denied VSH’s bid for recertification yet again because of patient care issues and safety concerns about the aging facility’s physical environment. State Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Washington-2) says, “First, an interesting aspect is that CMS has become more clear in the past year that they are not considering recertification; they are treating [the hospital] as though it is a new entity seeking certification. This is important because it creates a different standard than simply remedying the [More]

June 12th, 2018

VT braces for loss of psychiatric bed Medicaid funding

By Janine Weisman

A special waiver exempts Vermont from a decades-old restriction prohibiting states from using Medicaid funds to cover services for non-elderly adults with mental health conditions in hospital settings with more than 16 beds. But Vermont’s waiver is set to expire starting in 2021 and phase out completely in 2025. That would leave the state on the hook for the $23 million in federal dollars being used to provide treatment for patients ages 21 to 64 at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital (VPCH) in Berlin and Brattleboro Retreat, said Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Melissa Bailey. A proposal among an [More]

December 1st, 2013

VT mental health agencies to be audited

By Catherine Robertson Souter

While they are not suspected of any wrongdoing or failures, the mental health agencies of the state of Vermont will be under the microscope in the coming months. In September, the Vermont state auditor’s office announced it will run an audit of the state’s designated agencies (DAs), the community mental health and developmental disability organizations contracted by the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH). State Auditor Doug Hoffer announced the plan to inspect the agencies as one of four new audits being initiated. The office will also look at the Sex Offender Registry to ensure it is being kept current [More]

October 1st, 2013

Wait times rise in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The numbers are going in the wrong direction for certain clients of the mental health care system in Maine. Although nearly a quarter of a century has passed since Maine settled a lawsuit agreeing to standards of care for patients of the state’s mental health system, the most recent report on its implementation shows a marked increase in the number of those waiting to be assigned caseworkers. According to the report, filed by former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Daniel Wathen, Esq., who was appointed by the courts to monitor the state’s compliance, there are 543 patients waiting to [More]

March 1st, 2017

Wait times still long in EDs

By Pamela Berard

Patients having mental health emergencies who require hospital admission wait nearly four times longer for an inpatient bed than their medical counterparts, according to a study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine. Additionally, mental health patients waited more than five times as long for transfer to another facility, according to the study, “Analysis of Emergency Department Length of Stay for Mental Health Patients at Ten Massachusetts Emergency Departments.” “Boarding, the practice of prolonged waiting in the emergency department for an inpatient hospital bed or transfer to another facility, is a pervasive public health problem that disproportionately affects mental health patients,” [More]

November 1st, 2014

Walden Behavioral Care opens new facility in Peabody

By Howard Newman

Because of an increasing demand for treatment of eating disorders in Boston’s North Shore area, Walden Behavioral Care, LLC has opened a new clinic in Peabody, Mass. Walden Behavioral Care, is a private psychiatric hospital based in Waltham, Mass., and includes satellite facilities in Braintree, Worcester and Northampton, Mass., as well as South Windsor, Conn. Serving patients in New England and New York, the regional facility provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for eating disorders. Full-time hospitalization and 24-hour care are available in the Waltham facility. Paula Vass, LICSW, senior vice president of clinical operations at Walden [More]

July 1st, 2015

Walden clinic relocates

By Howard Newman

Seven years ago, Walden Behavioral Care LLC opened its first satellite facility in Northampton, Mass.. Walden Behavioral Care provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for eating disorders. Now there are five satellite facilities, two more planned openings this year and a move by the Northampton clinic to nearby Amherst. The relocation to 100 University Drive., Amherst, provides convenience, better parking, 70 percent more space and a warmer, friendlier atmosphere. This new clinic opened for business in mid-May, has nine staff and is currently serving around 20 clients. “We had really outgrown our previous space,” said Program Director [More]

November 1st, 2017

Walden tackles LGBTQ eating disorders

By Eileen Weber

The statistics for eating disorders in the LGBTQ community are unsettling. According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42 percent of men with this issue identify as gay or bisexual. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) states that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people report binge-eating and purging as young as 12-years-old. Many seeking treatment for an eating disorder also have a co-occurring disorder – anything from anxiety and depression to obsessive compulsive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. Statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse also show that up to 35 percent of people who abuse alcohol [More]

May 12th, 2019

Walden’s CEO combines clinical background with business skills

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In the country’s convoluted health care system, forging a path towards recovery can be frustrating at best and a setup for failure at worst. A patchwork system, grown organically over the years as need arises or funding is available, US health care encompasses a wide variety of services, both public and private, for and not-for-profit. It can be overwhelming for individuals trying to navigate and find help for themselves or  loved ones, especially for mental health services. With its whole person approach, Walden Behavioral Care, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based mental health care system that specializes in treating eating disorders, looks to [More]