General, Articles

May 13th, 2019

Hebrew Senior Care’s expansion hopes to address psychiatric needs of elderly

By Eileen Weber

People are living longer and as a result, rates of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related issues continue to increase, impacting not only families, but the greater medical community. According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement every day and the U.S. Census Bureau’s assessments bear those figures out. They predict that by 2030, “one in five residents will be retirement age.” The World Health Organization states globally 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from a mental disorder with dementia and depression topping the list. The Centers for Disease Control published a study last year that projected the rate of [More]

May 13th, 2019

North Shore Medical Center project underway to increase number of psychiatric beds

By Eileen Weber

North Shore Medical Center received approval from Massachusetts state regulators to increase its number of psychiatric beds. Plans for what will be called the Epstein Center for Behavioral Health include a total of 120 adult, geriatric, and pediatric beds. The facility is slated to open this fall. The expansion project had a few glitches after the hospital and its parent company, Partners Healthcare, scaled back the plans in 2016 because of financial losses. Now back on track, the expansion is an attempt to tackle what is a nationwide issue—having enough psychiatric care available so that patients don’t end up in [More]

May 13th, 2019

Psychologists find inpatient autism treatment complex, challenging

By Phyllis Hanlon

Growing awareness, mandatory early screening and changes to the diagnostic criteria have collectively contributed to an increase in the number of autism diagnoses. For the most part, patients with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum are managed on an outpatient basis. But, in some cases, hospitalization is necessary. Barbara Tylenda, Ph.D, ABPP, chief psychologist to Bradley Hospital’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD), said that individuals with autism who need hospitalization are “…just like their neurotypical counterparts…” but can no longer be home or in school because of aggressive, self-injurious, or some other maladjusted behavior. Tylenda is also a [More]

May 13th, 2019

The shame of United Behavioral Healthcare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

I’m surprised United Behavioral Healthcare (UBH) – a part of behemoth UnitedHealthcare — can even show its face these days. After a scathing ruling against this disliked healthcare insurer was handed down in early March, it’s become clear – to me at least — that UBH only cared for its bottom line, not the highest quality patient care possible. It also once again illustrated the separate and unequal systems that exist in parallel – one that treats physical symptoms, and an inferior system setup to provide the most minimal of coverage to treat mental symptoms. In the case, Wit v. [More]

May 12th, 2019

Butler Hospital research seeks to identify people in pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that total is expected to increase to nearly 14 million. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from heart disease decreased by nine percent; deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145 percent.Butler Hospital in Rhode Island is among the institutions working to shrink those statistics. Butler has been researching dementia for 25 years. In the last several years, research at Butler Hospital Memory & Aging Program (MAP) has shifted to identifying people in the pre-clinical stage of dementia, even individuals who are at risk but haven’t developed symptoms yet, said Athene Lee, [More]

May 12th, 2019

Telepsychology: Is it the future of treatment?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Technology has become an integral part of our daily world. We ask Alexa about the weather, tell Siri to place a phone call and use voice recognition software to write emails. How far a step is it, then, to reach out to a therapist via technology? Telepsychology, or telehealth, the practice of providing psychological services over telecommunication equipment, is not exactly a new facet of the profession. Since video conferencing equipment was first developed in the 1990s, there has been a slow, but steady, expansion of therapists who offer the option. Insurance coverage has been a bit slow to follow, [More]

May 12th, 2019

Study finds lack of data a barrier to systems-level research on patient safety

By Janine Weisman

Morgan Shields admits she was naive in the summer of 2017 when she first submitted an online public records request for all substantiated complaints against inpatient psychiatric facilities in Massachusetts. The paralegal from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) who called her told her it would cost more than $100,000 to provide the records. “I thought what he was saying was it would cost the state that much money to redact all of the information, just go through all the files,” recalled Shields, a Ph.D. candidate and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism fellow at the Institute for [More]

May 11th, 2019

United Behavioral Health case shines light on parity violations

By Catherine Robertson Souter

While an attempt by the Senate Finance Committee to unmask secretive drug industry pricing has been in the news lately, another case that could have far-reaching results for insurance company procedure was recently decided in a federal court in California. In March, a federal judge issued a ruling in a class-action case brought by several patients against United Behavioral Health (UBH), a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. Judge Spero of the U.S. District Court of Northern California sided with the plaintiffs in their allegations that they were denied mental health care benefits improperly. The plaintiffs said that the insurance company did [More]

May 11th, 2019

Why we walk

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When he was finally given permission to walk outside of the locked areas of the hospital with staff supervision, the man wasted no time in arranging opportunities to walk with his psychiatrist, to work in the hospital greenhouse, and to spend some of his weekly therapy hour with me in the open air. There is nothing new about walking during psychotherapy sessions. It was a common practice for Sigmund Freud to walk with his patients around the University in Vienna. The walks helped his patients clear their minds and speak more freely than they could have done in the office. [More]

May 11th, 2019

Study attempts to identify at-risk babies for autism treatment

By Susan Gonsalves

Babies who are at risk of developing autism have better outcomes if they are identified early and given intensive treatment. That’s the premise of the Infant Sibling Project, spearheaded by Rebecca MacDonald, Ph.D., BCBA-D, director of that initiative at The New England Center for Children in Southborough, Mass. MacDonald explained that her work attempts to replicate and expand research by Graupner and Sallows of the Wisconsin Early Autism Project in 2017. That project identified 60 siblings of children who already had an autism diagnosis. Researchers studied the babies, who were up to six months old, and conducted bi-weekly developmental screenings, [More]