Leading Stories, Articles

June 14th, 2018

Connecticut’s troubled adolescents lack coverage

By Eileen Weber

One in every five children between 13 and 18-years-old have or will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Based on its statistics in 2015, only a little over half of children aged eight to 15 received mental health services. Laura Whitmore, associate minister at Southport Congregational in Southport, Conn., has first-hand experience with this situation. With approximately 100 kids and teens in the church’s middle and high school youth groups, she has seen an uptick in issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. But, there have been more alarming problems as well. “I [More]

June 13th, 2018

Vaping: More than just blowing smoke

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a National Youth Tobacco Survey and found that 2.39 million teens are “vaping” (i.e., using an electronic smoking device). As this trend continues to grow, parents, schools and health professionals struggle with ways to effectively address the problem. William T. Mautz, Ph.D, of Children’s Neuropsychological Services in Andover, Arlington and Newton, Massachusetts and Exeter, New Hampshire, indicated that his practice treats a large teen population from both public and independent schools and the problem of vaping cuts across all settings. He explained that teens don’t recognize the dangers involved [More]

June 12th, 2018

Mindful Teen program a ‘hub of care’ for adolescents

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2012, Bradley Hospital launched its Mindful Teen program, which teaches teens the skills needed to manage a myriad of psychological challenges. Two years later, the program moved to a stricter, full dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) model and in 2016, the program became a hub for care. Kerri Kim, Ph.D., program manager for the Mindful Teen program, explained that staff underwent intensive training before implementing the existing Mindful Teen model. She noted that an increase in the number of teens admitted to the inpatient units at Bradley and other area hospitals provided the impetus to enhance the program. Some teens [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]

June 11th, 2018

Marketing is key to building practice but must be done with careful planning

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In today’s competitive world where everything from the pens floating around at the bottom of a laptop bag to the mugs sitting on the kitchen counter has a brand on it, most businesses prioritize a marketing plan. If a psychological practice is also a business, with rent to pay, staff to hire, and a “product” to sell, does it follow that psychologists should also consider instituting a marketing plan? The answer is, yes, but also…within certain parameters and with careful planning. There has long been some hesitation within mental health towards marketing, with the idea that, in order to “sell [More]

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]

June 8th, 2018

Maine Gov. LePage continues push for step-down unit in Bangor

By Janine Weisman

Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s effort to build a privately run 21-bed stepdown unit for Augusta’s Riverview Psychiatric Center on state land in Bangor has quietly resumed with a developer’s permit application filed with the Bangor Planning Board. Bangor Holdings LLC in Hermon submitted an application and site development plan on May 30 to build a one-story, 9,536 square foot secure forensic rehabilitation facility on State Hospital Drive on the grounds of the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. Although the application sought a site review, Bangor Planning Officer David Gould said the proposed 2.32-acre site would need a conditional use permit [More]

May 16th, 2018

Brattleboro Retreat expands telepsychiatry services

By Pamela Berard

Following the successful launch of a pilot inpatient telepsychiatry program, the Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont has expanded its telepsychiatry services. In early 2017, a psychiatrist on the medical staff at the Retreat — a not-for-profit specialty psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital — moved out of state but wanted to stay involved. Brattleboro Retreat developed an inpatient model of telepsychiatry for the staffer to provide remote, real-time video consultation with patients. “It was very well received early on by patients as well as our staff and the physician involved,” said Mark McGee, M.D., chief medical officer. The Retreat has since hired [More]

May 14th, 2018

Mass. increases beds, facilities while other states remain stable

By Phyllis Hanlon

The psychiatric care landscape has shifted in recent years from an inpatient setting to community placement and back to in-hospital treatment. New England Psychologist surveyed the New England states to assess the current inpatient situation. Kathleen Remillard, public information officer (PIO) at New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services, reported that the state has had no psychiatric unit closures in the past year. Rather, New Hampshire has gained 20 new transitional housing beds for patients recently released from New Hampshire Hospital or other designated receiving facilities. Vermont has also added 20 youth psychiatric beds; and four mobile crisis apartments [More]

May 13th, 2018

Psychologists weigh benefits, challenges of working in inpatient hospital settings

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychologists today have opportunities to pursue several different professional career paths. New England Psychologist spoke to psychologists who practice in inpatient settings and found that this venue offers both rewards and challenges. Before retiring, Robert J. Kamman, Ph.D, of Raymond, Maine, spent 32 years working at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in New York, where he conducted initial screenings on every admission and determined the necessity for assessments. His responsibilities also included administering tests, running group therapy sessions, collaborating with the art and music therapist, occasionally treating patients on an individual basis and frequently working with families. Throughout his career, the [More]