Friday, September 17, 2010

Cater to Your Inner Wonk

Louise Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider hosts the Politics,
Money and Health edition of Health Wonk Review....


Thursday, September 16, 2010

THe Affordable Care Act and Behavioral Health: A Webcast sent this bulletin on September 15, 2010 08:48 AM

There are many important benefits for you and your family in the Affordable Care Act, but one area that you may not be aware of is behavioral health. The new law contains important new programs that will help improve and expand coverage for those with behavioral health disorders. Unfortunately, many Americans do not have access to the mental health and substance use treatment services they need. Quality, affordable coverage can be hard to find and insurance companies can arbitrarily limit care for behavioral health disorders.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Antipsychotics and the Kids

A long time ago, I posted a set of rules that I used to help me to navigate the treacherous roads of children's mental illness. (Note to new readers- I am a pediatrician, not a child psychiatrist, and am a bit humbled by the new medications now at our disposal.) One of those rules was pretty straightforward:
There is little evidence to support using two psychotropic medications to treat AD/HD in children, and none to support using three.
According to the New York Times a few weeks ago, I was pretty close to the mark. Young children have been overprescribed medications for no good reasons. Often. What was interesting to me is why this was suddenly front page news? Anyway, I was not surprised and unhappy at the line taken by the pediatrician in the story: You have to do something when people come in desperate for help. Unfortunately, the right answer, frequently, is to do hold back on the big guns, and use focus on the hard stuff, like behavior management and family supports.

Nice article, with a nice "shout out" for Mary-Margaret Gleason, a triple boarded child psychiatrist who I have not seen in too long.

I'm back to seeing patients today, screening away for mental health and behavioral health problems. So far, not much. But I've only been back for 2 weeks. More later.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Parent-Professional Advocacy League

Always nice to hear good things about nice people. This came in on my listserve from Meri Viano. Nice work, Mary.

I wanted to welcome and congratulate Mary Lambert as the Full time Lead Family Support Specialist for PAL ( Parent/ Professional Advocacy League). (, 508-767-9725).

As many of you are aware, Mary has been with PAL for over 3 years and has dedicated herself to helping , advocating, teaching and empowering families all across the state.

Mary has a passion to teach families their rights, and educate them to help support their child and themselves. Mary has begun working full time for PAL and will continue to bring families, communities, and providers valuable information. Mary is a parent of 4 wonderful , amazing children and brings her own heartfelt stories, strategies, and tools to her job daily. Mary is in charge of getting families information/referrals and options of supports and needs for help in our state.
PAL is excited to welcome Mary Full time !!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Also from the Children's Mental Health Campaign

If you can't make the meeting on the 14th, consider this meeting on the 16th:

CMHC Legislative Committee

Thurs., Sept. 16

3-5 PM

9th Floor Conference Room

30 Winter Street, Boston

As the legislature goes into informal session - likely for the remainder of the 2009-2010 legislative session - it's time to look toward setting our agenda for the 2011-2012 session.

The Legislative Committee will be reconvening to begin that work on Thursday September 16th from 3:00-5:00 in the 9th floor conference room at Health Care for All.

The goals for the meeting will be to

  • Agree on legislation which we will seek to have filed on behalf of the campaign,
  • Establish a process for drafting and filing new legislation and
  • Discuss a proposed process by which the CMHC will support legislation filed by others. (this will be sent to you prior to the meeting)
  • The issues we are currently considering are below. If there are other legislative issues that you would like considered please feel free to contact me to discuss them. In addition, we welcome receiving any information which would inform our work that you would like to have distributed to members ahead of time.

Please respond directly to Nancy Allen Scannell at or 617-587-1510.



  • Coordination of Care: Discussion of options for refilling the coordination of care bill.
  • CHINS: Discussion of ongoing support for the CHINS bill.


Based on the input we have received to date we are currently considering new legislation to address the following issues

1. Establish a uniform definition of "out of school time." Time out of school has a profound negative impact on children. However, the ability to get a complete picture of 'out of school time" is hampered by the existence of an array of terms used to describe time that children are excluded from school. The intent of creating a uniform overarching definition of out of school time to apply to early, elementary and secondary settings is to facilitate the collection of information and data to inform strategies for increasing the amount of time that children are in school.

2. Mandated attendance State Agencies and LEAs at meetings to Coordinate Care

The lack of a forum where parents can expect the attendance of all state and local authorities who are involved in providing care to their child creates tremendous issues in coordinating care for the child. The delays and mixed messages that result from multiple separate meetings between and among the parties are harmful to the child's well being, put an enormous burden for advocacy on parents and are a waste of precious human and financial resources. Solutions under consideration are mandating LEA participation in the Unified Planning Teams established under Ch.321 of the Acts of 2008 or mandating State Agency participation in IEP meetings.

3. Payment Reform

The CMHC is very concerned about the absence of any focus on systems of care for children and especially children with mental and behavioral health issues in the larger discussions of payment reform. We hope to establish a strategy for ensuring that these issues are given due consideration in any proposal that begins to move toward becoming law.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The More Things Change: Back in New England

Been away for a while, and it is good to be able to breathe the New England air again. Also good to see this in my Inbox, from the Children's Mental Health Campaign.

Please Join Us: CMHC Supporters Meeting

Tuesday, September 14 from 9:30-11am

30 Winter Street, 9th Floor Conf. Room

Please join us for the next Children's Mental Health Campaign Supporters' Meeting Tuesday, September 14 from 9:30-11am in the 9th Floor Conference Room at 30 Winter Street.

One of the major issues facing the Legislature during the 2011-12 session will be examining the way that health care is paid for.

Payment Reform has significant implications for the delivery of children's mental health services.

On September 14, we will be discussing Payment Reform and how the Campaign can work to make sure that the children with mental health needs are considered in any policy changes.

Additionally, we will discuss new legislative priorities for the Campaign, grassroots development work, and potential larger public events around children's mental health.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Matt Noyes, Campaign Coordinator, at 617-275-2939 or

Thank you again, and please save September 14 for the next CMHC supporters' group meeting.

Good to know that someone has been fighting the good fight while I've been gone. Perhaps I'll see you there.

A Proud Member of the Children's Mental Health Campaign

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