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New! Mental Health News Bulletin


Welcome to our Mental Health News Bulletin!

We will be regularly publishing articles and new related to mental health, billing, health insurance, and more directly on our blog! As we monitor trends in the industry we want you to be kept up to speed on the latest news, so we will be publishing regular news updates.

Stay tuned for more, but for now here is our news bulletin:

Mental Health Counselor Arrested On Fraud Charges After Billing Medicaid $200,000

A family counselor who ran a business from the basement in her Norwich home was arrested Thursday on accusations that she billed the state’s Medicaid program for psychotherapy sessions that never happened, the Division of Criminal Justice’s office said.

Over a period of five years, Susan J. Britt used the identification of 17 of her clients to bill the state program fraudulently for sessions she had never provided at a profit of $91,042.68. She collected another $103,733.84 for services she supposedly provided for herself and her family.

Read more about this story here.

How Schools Use Social, Emotional Learning Curriculum To Teach Mental Health

As mental health becomes a political talking point, Georgia schools are finding innovative ways to make social and emotional learning part of the curriculum.

Interview Highlights

On how this new focus on social and emotional learning fits in with traditional mental health care

Social emotional learning helps students and adults manage emotions, set positive goals, understand others, have empathy for others and understand really what they're about as a human being. Mental health awareness really fits right up underneath the umbrella of social emotional learning.

On the need for mental health counselors in schools

We're approaching 43,000 kids in our district. You know, that's really 8,500 kids that really need support, and of those how many are not diagnosed? We really want to get a grasp on the kids that need that support, but also funding the others that possibly need support and don't have it yet.

Read more here.

Mental health finally a focus in college athletics, but advocates call for more

In the 17 months since the death of his son, Mark Hilinski has visited enough college athletic departments to see the same things over and over, a pattern repeated: the renovated facilities, the expansive weight rooms, the well-accoutered players’ lounges. Shiny perks, all, of a major college athletics enterprise that continues to generate ever-increasing revenue.

And yet, Hilinski said not long ago, referencing the athletes at the center of it all, “We can’t fund a staff for their mental health?”

It was a May Tuesday at a Durham hotel, and he and his wife, Kym, had delivered the keynote address at the ACC’s inaugural mental-health summit. For more than a year, the Hilinskis had been giving these kinds of talks, sharing the story of their son, Tyler, the former Washington State quarterback.

Read more here.

Q&A: DeWine’s Mental Health Proposals After The Dayton Shooting

During a vigil for the victims from the recent mass shooting in Dayton, Gov. Mike DeWine's remarks were drowned out by those in the crowd imploring him to "do something." And he has started to do something, rolling out a 17-point plan to reduce gun violence. Several parts of his plan address mental health. Morning Edition Host Amy Eddings discussed these proposals recently with ideastream's Anne Glausser.

There's the telemedicine proposal, which is also already in the budget but he's highlighting the efforts. The Ohio Department of Medicaid is investing $15 million in telehealth mental health services for kids to increase access to care for those who face barriers like transportation or nearby providers. The medicaid program already has telemedicine mental health services, so this would really be an expansion of these services.

Read more here.

Mental health issues and money: kindness is not good enough

For Dickens, like many others, issues with money and mental health are delicately interwoven. It’s a widespread problem: just as people in problem debt are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems, those with mental health problems are more likely to end up in problem debt.

For Andrew Dickens, the problems started as soon as he was old enough to get credit. “I was terrible with money,” he says. “And it was the late 90s and credit was dished out like sweets.” After leaving university, he would frequently build up debt on credit cards to fund his lifestyle, before being offered consolidation loans to bring the balance to zero. “And off you go again.” He was even given a £10,000 consolidation loan by a bank when “they knew I was unemployed”. In a survey by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), 86% said their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.

Read more here.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE MENTAL ILLNESS IN CHILDREN

A recent report shows a rise in suicide attempts via drug overdose by preteens in New Jersey over the past 18 months. The findings align with national trends.

“This illustrates the need for people who encounter children regularly to be aware of early signs of mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts,” says Kelly Moore, program manager for the Children’s Center for Resilience and Trauma Recovery at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

Read more about the interview here.

Here’s When Hair-Pulling, Skin-Picking, or Nail-Biting Becomes a Disorder

You’re not alone if you find some “bad” habit weirdly satisfying: freeing an ingrown hair, plucking a stray gray, popping a pimple, gnawing off a pesky hangnail, or whatever else you might do in the privacy of your home (and maybe other places, too) Even if you know it’s probably not the best for you, you might derive some satisfaction from this habit all the same.

What you may not know is that when done often enough and in a way that causes harm, these habits can actually be what experts call body-focused repetitive behaviors (or BFRBs). If you don’t know that BFRBs are a thing, these behaviors might make you feel especially alone or ashamed, Nicholas C. Crimarco, Ph.D., clinical psychology instructor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, tells SELF. Most important, you might not know help is out there.

Read more here.

$50K grant to help folks learn to lessen financial stress

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana on Tuesday gave Great Falls-based Rural Dynamics Inc.a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant to help teach people how to deal with stress due to rising health care costs.

Rural Dynamics, a nonprofit organization, is developing a program to help Montanans be more financially savvy and decrease the chances of financial stress and the health risks and costs that come with it, Blue Cross officials said.

The pilot project will initially focus on northcentral Montana, within the service area of Benefis Health System. Rural Dynamics intends to expand testing efforts to include residents statewide.

Read more here.

Kansas Medicaid Insurer Aetna On Even Thinner Ice With State Officials

Aetna remains in hot water with the state of Kansas, which recently threatened to cancel the company’s Medicaid contract.

In late July, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment gave Aetna Better Health 10 days to resolve a laundry list of long-running problems.

But on Tuesday, the agency said the insurer’s reply doesn’t cut it, “nor does it present a clear path to compliance.”

Aetna gets another shot at fixing what health care providers describe as chronic issues with payment, among other concerns.

Aetna provides health insurance to around 100,000 Kansans under KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid system. It’s one of three companies with contracts to do so, and replaced one of the previous insurers in January.

The state health department did not provide a copy of Aetna’s compliance plan, explaining it is not yet a public document in its current unfinalized state. But in a cover letter that Aetna filed with the state on Aug. 7, says the company says it has fixed several issues and that many of the other problems “are well on their way to compliance.”

Read more here.

10 tips for parents facing a new school year

As a mother who’s gone through the back-to-school routine with her own children, Jon Brooks-Fox knows what it means to motivate young students. And as a program manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, she interacts with other parents who are facing similar challenges.

As another school year approaches, Brooks-Fox shared a list of tried-and-true tips based on other working parents’ advice as well as her own experiences.

“It’s definitely what I’ve learned, what I’ve seen work,” she said. “…It’s not a perfect recipe, but I’m hopeful that people will be able to pick one or two tidbits that will help them enter into the next school year with a little better footing for them and their child…”

Mental health is key to overall health: It’s not something we often talk about this time of year, Brooks-Fox says, but some children struggle with emotional challenges. While some may relish the thought of heading to school, others may have a great deal of anxiety about meeting new people. Still others may be dealing with a bad experience from a previous school year. Brooks-Fox said parents should find a constructive way to talk about such issues. She said parents should keep the conversation positive and use open-ended questions.

Read more here.

Flathead Health Center gets Behavioral Health Grant

The Flathead Community Health Center recently was awarded a $167,000 grant that will go toward incorporating more integrated behavioral health services between the center and Gateway Community Services in Kalispell.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration awarded just over $2 million in integrated behavioral service grants to Montana — a portion of the more than $200 million that was shelled out to 1,208 health centers nationwide to “help health centers increase access to high quality, integrated mental health and substance use disorders services, including opioid use disorder.”

Read more here.


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