Leading Stories, Articles

December 1st, 2017

Judge allows Affordable Care Act subsidies to end

By Janine Weisman

A week before the 2018 open enrollment period began, a federal judge rejected an emergency motion filed by a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general – including four New England states – to stop the Trump Administration from ending cost-sharing subsidies to insurers required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Insurance regulators in many states had already made contingency plans to raise 2018 premium rates in case the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies ended by the Nov. 1 start of open enrollment. And increases in rates for silver exchange plans will end up being covered by an increase [More]

December 1st, 2017

Grant helps people who disclose assault

By Pamela Berard

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations Research Center are evaluating a strategy they created to help keep on campus incidents of intimate partner violence or sexual assault from leading to problem drinking and/or mental health issues. Katie M. Edwards, Ph.D., principal investigator and associate professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of New Hampshire, said that victims of intimate partner violence and sexual violence commonly do not first report the incident to authorities – such as the police, a hospital, or therapist – but rather, they tell a friend or family member first. “We call them [More]

December 1st, 2017

Psychologists at odds over science in Mass. high court case

By Janine Weisman

Twelve days after Massachusetts’ Concord District Court put Julie Eldred on probation for a larceny charge in the summer of 2016, she tested positive for fentanyl and was sent to MCI Framingham without bail for violating a condition that she “remain drug free.” But Eldred suffers from opioid use disorder, said her lawyer Lisa Newman-Polk, Esq, LCSW and opioid use disorder is a chronic brain disease. Relapse is a symptom. Newman-Polk, who practices in Eldred’s hometown of Acton, Massachusetts, believes the probation condition requiring her client to stay drug free is unconstitutional and is asking for its removal from the [More]

December 1st, 2017

Full-service VA Hospital still possible in New Hampshire

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After a Boston Globe Spotlight report in July on the poor state of care at the Manchester, N.H., VA Medical Center, the Veteran’s Administration reacted swiftly to address issues. Within 24 hours of the report, which included “whistle-blower” accounts from current and former staff members, VA Secretary David Shulkin removed two top officials and sent in the Office of Medical Inspector and the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection to investigate. The issues outlined in the Globe article included non-sterile operating equipment, a fly infestation in one OR, equipment issues and patients whose care resulted in what specialists have said [More]

December 1st, 2017

URI offers Mental Health First Aid training

By Pamela Berard

When it comes to accidents or physical illness, First Aid training can help minimize the damage and speed up healing time. The University of Rhode Island is taking a similar approach to mental health, adopting Mental Health First Aid training, an eight-hour program that teaches people how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Lindsey Anderson, Ph.D., director of the Psychological Consultation Center at URI, said the program was rolled out over the summer, and by the end of the current semester in December, they expect more than 400 people will have received [More]

December 1st, 2017

Study: panic doesn’t increase adverse effects for pregnant women

By Pamela Berard

Neither panic disorder nor generalized anxiety disorder increased adverse birth outcomes for pregnant women, according to a recent Yale study. However, women who used antidepressants and benzodiazepines to treat those conditions saw a slight increase in some adverse outcomes, according to the study, which appeared in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Lead author Kimberly Yonkers, M.D., professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, as well as director of the Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers, said a major take-home message from the study is that women are not harming their babies if [More]

December 1st, 2017

Role of ‘bystanders’ to abuse examined

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With multiple stories in the press and on social media around accusations of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, a renewed focus has been placed on strengthening support for victims and changing attitudes towards abuse. As expected, the emphasis in the ongoing discussion has been on the perpetrator and on the victims. There is another angle that has not received as much attention as it should, according to Vicki Banyard, Ph.D., a professor in the department of psychology at University of New Hampshire: the role of the bystander. Banyard, who is also a research and evaluation consultant with the school’s Prevention [More]

November 1st, 2017

Weight-based bullying can lead to psychological distress

By Phyllis Hanlon

Fashion magazines, television shows, movies and other media have promoted the idea that “thin is in” for decades. While there has been a slight shift in thinking recently, bias against larger individuals continues to be an issue that can have medical and psychological consequences. According to Joan C. Chrisler, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Connecticut College, many clinicians don’t understand that a person’s weight is based on several factors, including genetics and physiology, as well as race, gender, age, income and culture, which collectively is known as intersectional identification. Negative attitudes toward weight are also based somewhat on body mass [More]

November 1st, 2017

Psychologist management jobs are highest paid

By Janine Weisman

The median annual salary for full-time psychologists holding doctorates or highest professional degrees in the United States was $85,000 in 2015, up from $80,000 in 2013, according to a recent report from the American Psychological Association. Management positions had the highest median salary among all position types ($110,000), followed by research positions ($95,000) while teaching positions had the lowest median salary ($62,000), the report APA’s Center for Workforce Studies released last May finds. The highest management salaries were found in the private sector, especially within the private for-profit sector ($150,000), excluding self-employment. Salary levels differed by the number of people [More]

November 1st, 2017

Union wants metal detectors at Department of Mental Health sites

By Susan Gonsalves

Representatives of workers at inpatient mental health facilities around Massachusetts fear that it’s inevitable people will be seriously injured or killed if action is not taken to ensure their safety. They’ve taken their concerns to the governor’s office. Earlier this year, officials from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) hand-delivered a petition signed by 1,100 workers seeking the installation of metal detectors at seven locations. James Durkin, director of legislation for AFSCME Council 93 said that although metal detectors would not solve the security issues completely, the “simple first step,” would “drastically reduce the possibility,” of [More]