Solitary confinement reformed in New York
MHASC.jpgReform of solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners took place in New York this month. A milestone for the state -- the first in the nation to lead with law and not follow the courts -- it also falls short of the goal to end a practice that in some parts of the world is called torture. "Solitary confinement reformed in New York" is accompanied by an exclusive podcast, and interview with one of the activists. []
Self-directed mental wellness care
. . .consumers in the driver's seat []
New Laws Expand Mental Health Coverage
Writing for Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews explains how the implementation of new laws will "provide better insurance coverage for more people with mental health and substance abuse conditions." . . . []
Within our Reach, by Rosalynn Carter
Withinourreach.JPG Rosalynn Carter has been one of this generation's most consistently admired and respected advocates. The grace, compassion and wisdom that Dr. Lisa Dixon describes in her insightful review of Within Our Reach help us understand why. []
Donald Berwick is important to behavioral healthcare
Peterbrown.jpg WIth 30.6 percent of the nation covered by Medicaid and Medicare programs, Donald Berwick is key to the success of the Affordable Health Act. That alone makes him central to reforms that will affect people with a behavioral health disorder whose life expectancy is a quarter-century less than the rest of the population. Peter Brown writes about how Berwick's achievements model new ways of thinking, that could be applied to improving behavioral health. []
Priorities for national reform, writes Ron Manderscheid
Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Executive Director, of NACBHDD writes about "Implementing Service Improvements for Adults with Serious Mental Illness" On November 12 and 13, I served as convener and host for a major national meeting in Washington, D.C., designed to identify, build consensus, and prioritize needed improvements in services for adults with serious mental illness. The meeting, "National Action Meeting on Fostering System Reform for Adults with Serious Mental Illness", was convened because National Health Reform will provide a unique opportunity... []
Fighting for last place: Florida, Texas, New Mexico
Recognition that there's a dearth of spending for mental health is entering politics this year as candidates on the Right and the Left begin to ask why state budgets are spending more on prisons than treatments. . . []
Report on pharma and ghostwriting
Senate_ghostwriting.jpegIowa's Sen. Charles Grassley released a new report on medical ghostwriting, one more indication of the ethical lapses and the marketing of medicine which he has been doggedly investigating. Grassley has asked researchers, clinicians, universities, and federal agencies along with the pharmaceutical industry to explain their practices and relationships that have not been less than transparent. This report. . . []
Shake up in Australia's mental health leadership
Mendoza.jpgCiting a lack of commitment, and duplicity by Australia's government, John Mendoza, the nation's top adviser on mental health, stepped down from the National Advisory Council on Mental Health.. . . []
NIH wants tighter disclosure rules
Proposals for transparency about outside income creating a conflict-of-interest for investigators under contract with the National Institute of Mental Health were released last week and lower the threshold from $10,000 to $5,000 for reporting outside income. . . []
Renewing Kendra's Law
Despite evidence that people with serious mental illness are more often the victims of crime than its perpetrators, 44 states followed New York's example of Kendra's Law with their own versions of court-ordered outpatient treatments. With New York's law about to expire, 21 advocacy organizations are asking for a five-year extension of the current law, time to permit assessment of its effectiveness before deciding to make it permanent. . . []
Insurance companies attempt to delay parity
In what amounts to trying to delay full implementation of the mental health parity law passed in 2008, a coalition of insurance companies went to federal court in April to claim "irreperable harm" and challenge the date when the new regs take effect. The American Psychiatric Association and other advocates oppose these attempts to roll back parity. . . []
Electronic records for mental and behavioral health care
The Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010 was introduced today by Reps. Patrick Kennedy and Tim Murphy to include incentives from the stimulus funding electronic records for behavioral health. As is noted in press release (below) from Rep. Patrick Kennedy's office, "clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric hospitals, substance use treatment facilities and mental health treatment facilities" were initially omitted from the list of health care providers receiving benefits. The bill they introduced corrects for... []
Recovery, new health care law -- conference topics
Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of New York Association for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) writes about an upcoming conference: "In our upcoming "6th Annual Executive Seminar on System Transformation," NYAPRS once again seeks to connect experts on the most promising trends supporting the advance of recovery. This includes discussions of wellness, community integration, self-determination, new federal health care law, and innovative service approaches. More than 50 speakers, who represent local, state and national leaders, will spend two days discussing these important... []
Passing health reform energizes advocates
Historic, jubilant, transformative were among the adjectives enunciated in the on-going celebrations of Sunday's historic pass of health reform in America. Recalling his mother who battled insurance companies on her deathbed, Pres. Barack Obama said passing this law represents the "core principles that everybody should have security." . . []
Catholic nuns, liberal politicians boost health reform prospects
Democrats got a boost from Catholic nuns representing 60 orders, and defying Bishops of the Catholic Church to endorse health reform. . . []
Benefits of parity law showing
Equal payments for mental health services, parity for shorthand, kicked in on Jan. 1 and some people are beginning to see the effects even before the entire set of regulations go are released in July.. . []
Preventing restraints of children -- HR 4247 -- gets bi-partisan committee support.
House Committee on Education and Labor passed HR 4247, a measure opposing restraints and seclusion of children in schools. The bill had widespread support and passed with a bi-partisan vote of 34 to 10 including 5 Republicans. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has been shepherding this issue. A report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) about abuses in residential treatment programs was issued in 2008 and you can download it here. ... []
Interim parity regulations hailed
Friday's announcement about the partial interim federal regulations ending discrimination for mental health and addiction disorders earned praise from advocates. Words like "applaud,"commendable" and "victories for fairness" peppered press releases from organizations working to end insurance discrimination. . . []
Whistleblower says Prop 63 not working in Cal.
In 2004 California voters passed Prop 63 to raise money by taxing millionaires for services for people with a mental illness. Many considered it a model law. Five years later, Rose King, political adviser and champion of mental health, filed a Whistle Blower complaint. What went wrong and how can it be corrected? Read her explanation. []
Models beyond outpatient commitment
In the ten years since Kendra Webdale was pushed to her death by a man who was denied services for his mental illness, questions about what led to this tragedy have been widely discussed. Led by New York, more than 40 states now believe they have addressed this with laws mandating outpatient or involuntary commitment (AOT). But the issue is hardly resolved, as evidenced by the activists, services providers and psychiatrists who crowded the Columbia University law school law school to discuss what it means to "gain compliance in the community." []
Conflicts-of-interest halt ADHD guidelines in Australia
Conflicts-of-interest in a panel writing guidelines for ADHD in Australia led the government to halt distribution of the recommendations according to the Australian press. Seven of the nine doctors on the panel received a gift of some form -- meals, international travel, hotels -- from drug companies. []
Drug companies disclose
. . .But is that enough? []
Prescription drug prices rose nearly 9 percent in 2009.
Read more in the New York Times about the increase in the cost of drugs based on analysis by Credit Suisse and IMS Health which tracks the pharmaceutical industry. This amounts to $21 billion more than expected and the hikes anticipate changes in negotiation over drug pricing should health reform succeed.... []
Georgia hospitals unimproved, says judge
Georgia failed to correct problems leading to federal investigations about abuse in psychiatric hospitals, ruled a federal judge. Judge Charles A. Pannell's decision revealed on-going complaints included cases of sexual assault, suspicious deaths, suicide, and physical abuse in the state's seven-hospital system. . . []

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