July 1st, 2015

EHRs on horizon in the Bay State

By Janine Weisman

Seventy-nine percent of Massachusetts physicians engaged in patient care demonstrated proficiency in the use of electronic health records (EHR) by the Jan. 1, 2015, deadline required by a state law to maintain their license to practice medicine, according to the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Media Relations Manager Richard P. Gulla. That means they achieved “meaningful use” certification for meeting objectives to receive financial incentives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to defray the costs of setting up health information technology systems. Eligible providers are entitled to a maximum of $44,000 under Medicare and $63,750 under Medicaid. The last payment [More]

December 1st, 2013

EIP rules still an issue in Vermont

By Rivkela Brodsky

Ever since Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011 and the Vermont State Hospital was destroyed, the state has been in the process of revising its mental health rules. The legislature passed a bill last year creating a decentralized system and various stakeholders have been working with the state’s Department of Mental Health on the new regulations and are in agreement on most rules, but are still trying to navigate an issue with Emergency Involuntary Procedure or EIP rules. Hospital officials and advocates for patients with mental illness are debating whether the Vermont regulations should continue to require a psychiatrist to [More]

July 1st, 2016

Election cycle analyzed by political psychologist

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For a political psychologist, this election cycle has provided plenty of fodder for discussion. From the rise of a true political outsider to the first woman in line for the top spot on a party ticket, to the role of the media in reporting, and affecting, political outcomes, the presidential election of 2016 has been a game-changer. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke with Elizabeth P. Ossoff, Ph.D., professor and chair of the psychology department at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, to discuss some of what she sees as key components of the current cycle. She talked about [More]

January 1st, 2017

Election prompts anxiety, confusion

By Phyllis Hanlon

In the wake of what many print, broadcast and social media outlets have called one of the “most divisive” political campaigns in recent memory, a mixture of emotions ranging from anger to confusion are impacting the country’s psychological health. Some clinicians are seeing an increase in calls for help, while research psychologists attempt to explain the complicated after-effects of the election. In the weeks since the election, Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D., private practitioner in Cambridge, Mass., whose patients include many immigrants, people of color and trauma survivors, has received more calls than usual. “It could be the time of year [More]

April 1st, 2017

Electronic ties increase stress levels

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Although election stress runs high, the highest amount of stress is with Americans who are too tied to their electronic devices. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey, people who constantly check email, texts and social media accounts report stress levels of 5.3 out of 10. Those who check less frequently reported a level of 4.4 on average. The results are even worse for workers who can’t seem to get away from the job. According to the study, for employed Americans who maintain constant close contact with work, stress levels run at an average of 6.0 out [More]

November 1st, 2014

Electronic tools can enhance practice

By Phyllis Hanlon

Technology has undoubtedly changed the way the world does business. For psychologists, electronic tools can open up a new realm, enabling them to reach more patients regardless of geographic location or diagnosis. Before engaging in telepsychology, however, practitioners need to understand the issue of licensing, security and privacy and reimbursement. Ben Johnson, Ph.D., ABPP, clinical assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and clinical psychologist and director of RICBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Coaching, conducts some of his therapy sessions via telephone, which he says allows the practitioner to communicate consistently and helps keep the client [More]

November 1st, 2013

Electronic treatment raises complicated issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Technology has invaded many aspects of daily life and some psychologists may be ready to make the leap into digital therapy. But before engaging in tele-treatment, psychologists should consider a number of factors, including patient privacy and jurisdictional regulations. Nancy T. Silberg, Ph.D., who works in the Bariatric Program in the Department of General Surgery at the Health Centre at Williston, Vermont and also has a private practice, Associates in Psychology, in Burlington, says that medical disciplines have been using technology, particularly teleconferencing, for some time. But psychologists who want to offer therapy electronically face some challenges. Privacy ranks as [More]

October 5th, 2018

Embracing the fall

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As much as I would like embrace the beauty of autumn with its colorful foliage and bright, clear days, I can never seem to ignore the melancholy chord that this season strikes in my soul and the bittersweet taste of joy diluted by sorrow. This year I might have made it through, gliding into the season on the wings of anticipated good times with family and friends. But this fall, reminders of losses endured in autumns past and others yet to come were intensified by the widely reported deaths of national figures, most notably, Senator John McCain at the end [More]

November 1st, 2012

EMDR: research prompts acceptance

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1987, Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., senior research fellow emeritus at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., director of the EMDR Institute and founder of the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program, developed a new therapy that both intrigued and puzzled clinicians. Eye movement desensitization – in 1991, reprocessing was added to the technique – (EMDR) gained some ready supporters, while drawing skepticism from others. Today, this therapy, which has been the subject of many research studies, has become more widely accepted for use in the treatment of mental health, especially trauma diagnoses. Kathleen Wheeler, Ph.D., APRN, FAAN, professor at the [More]

January 1st, 2018

Emergency Department visits for behavioral care on the rise

By Pamela Berard

The number of Massachusetts patients seeking Emergency Department (ED) care for behavioral health conditions increased, as did the proportion of those patients who boarded and the length of boarding, according to data from 2011-2015 that was recently released by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC). The data from HPC – an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care – indicated that the number of patients seeking ED care for behavioral health conditions increased 13 percent from 2011-2015, and the number of patients who boarded (i.e., patients who spend [More]

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