General

October 9th, 2019

New England’s last holdout to limit clawbacks finally passes law

By Janine Weisman

Health insurance companies now have a 12-month window to retroactively deny claims they already paid for mental health and substance abuse services in Massachusetts. Language imposing the time restriction on so-called clawbacks was included in the final fiscal 2020 state budget signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 31. The budget incorporated language from bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that sought to end what mental health providers have long considered an unfair business practice. No time limit for clawbacks previously existed in Massachusetts, while other New England states had laws requiring health plans to initiate [More]

August 29th, 2019

Study: Physical limits hurt mental health

By Susan Gonsalves

Children and young adults with physical conditions like diabetes, ADHD, and asthma are more likely to develop mental health problems according to a U.S. study. The study, led by John Adams, MD, of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, followed 48,572 young people ages 6 to 25 over a two-year-period. The individuals followed did not have mental health issues at the start of the research, but 14.7 percent were coping with physical problems that required treatment or limited their daily life activities. During the course of the study, overall, 7.8 percent of the participants developed a mental health problem. (Broken [More]

August 28th, 2019

Even providers need help overcoming addiction stigma

By Janine Weisman

The instructor is explaining what addiction is to a group of health care providers at the Veterans Administration Connecticut Healthcare System campus in West Haven. But while the instructor talks, all of the physicians, nurses, administrators, psychologists, chaplains, social workers, and others assembled in the conference room are holding their breath. Fifty seconds into the discussion, the participants in this mini-residency on substance use disorders are not really focused on the topic anymore. But once they resume normal breathing, it’s an opening to talk about what addiction can feel like, said Brent A. Moore, Ph.D., research psychologist at VA Connecticut [More]

August 28th, 2019

Practical Practice: Continuing ed can provide learning, networking opportunities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Nearly every state in the U.S. requires continuing education (CE) for renewing a psychology license. The requirements vary from Idaho’s 30 hours every three years to 60 hours every two years in Vermont, Arizona, and Washington. There are a few states that have no required amount of continuing ed credits and South Dakota inexplicably asks for “some” with no guidance on the exact amount. In New England, the requirements vary. New Hampshire and Maine ask for 40 hours every two years, Rhode Island is at 24 and Massachusetts requires 20. Of these hours, each state allows for a certain amount [More]

August 28th, 2019

Dismissal of three legal insanity cases causes stir in VT

By Eileen Weber

Three cases—two murder and one attempted murder—were dismissed in Vermont’s Chittenden County by State’s Attorney Sarah George as a result of legal insanity defenses. Some called her decision to dismiss into question, specifically Governor Phil Scott who asked Attorney General T.J. Donovan to review these cases. George, however, felt the governor’s reaction was insulting and set a bad precedent. In a tweet in early June responding to Scott’s request for review, George made it clear that she feels his move is politically motivated. “It is awful that our mental health agencies are failing us, but real leadership requires digging in [More]

August 28th, 2019

Research: Number of suicides continues to rise

By Susan Gonsalves

Surge seen especially in young males New research found that suicide rates reached their highest recorded levels in adolescents and young adults, particularly males aged 15 to 19. Appearing in the medical journal JAMA, the research analyzed data on U.S. deaths between 2000 and 2017 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Underlying Cause of Death database. Oren Miron, MA, research associate at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, led the study. His interest in the topic sparked from personal experience. Miron’s high school friend committed suicide. “My friend was bullied. I realized it’s an age where [More]

August 27th, 2019

Your online directory service doesn’t have to be so expensive

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Nearly every therapist subscribes to an online therapist directory service. Paying hundreds of dollars of a year to be listed in a directory may seem like it makes good business sense for a psychologist in individual practice. But there’s no reason these directories need to cost $300 to over $500 per year for a basic listing. To me, that just seems over-priced. Psych Central is committed to changing the directory space by offering an affordable directory listing to mental health clinicians. Our directory listings are only $9.95/month for a basic listing or $14.95/month for an advanced listing. No annual contracts [More]

August 27th, 2019

How traveling the inner state highway works

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When it comes to wisdom and humor both, there is nothing like the comics in the daily paper. Given the content of the news these days, we need wisdom and humor more than ever. In a recent edition of The Boston Globe, Hilary Price’s strip, “Rhymes with Orange, ”featured a worried looking driver reading a road sign on the “Inner State Highway” bearing this message: “Is it missing your exit that’s bothering you, or something deeper?” The idea of the inner state highway appeals to me as a psychologist. For many of us, it was the first road we learned [More]

August 27th, 2019

Involuntary shock therapy court-ordered for Connecticut man

By Eileen Weber

This past spring, a probate court ordered a 26-year-old man in Connecticut to undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and involuntary medication at Yale New Haven Hospital. The man, identified only as John Doe, secured the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP) for his defense in the appeal. The hospital’s attorneys argued for a dismissal, citing the patient has a conservator who must agree. The defense rebutted that state law allows conserved individuals to challenge such cases on their own even if their conservator disagrees. Gina Teixeira, JD, Doe’s attorney at CLRP, contended state law requires less intrusive treatment before implementing the procedure. [More]

August 27th, 2019

Shifting cultural patterns challenge therapists who specialize in addiction

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Addiction Center reports that nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction; and drug overdose deaths have tripled since 1990. Furthermore, alcohol and drug addiction cost the economy more than $600 billion annually. As addiction continues to take a physical, social and financial toll, mental health professionals strive to help those who struggle. To determine a diagnosis and appropriate course of action, Sean J. McGlew, Psy.D, LP, traumatic stress and addiction psychologist at the Cambridge HealthAlliance outpatient center, created the Comprehensive Use Assessment, a tool that looks at a patient’s current and past relationship with substances, frequency of [More]