Canada’s Prison Needle Exchange Program Has Limitations

Canada’s Prison Needle Exchange Program, a syringe distribution program in nine federal correctional institutions, faces major limitations and low participation rates, according to a new report. Based on interviews with people who were formerly incarcerated, the independent report points out barriers to access and outlines recommendations to ensure that the program works as intended. Emily … Read more

Behavioral Treatment Tied to Lower Medical, Pharmacy Costs

Outpatient behavioral health treatment (OPBHT) for patients newly diagnosed with depression, substance use disorder, or other behavioral health condition (BHC) is cost-effective. Results of a large retrospective study showed that patients newly diagnosed with a BHC who receive OPBHT following diagnosis incur lower medical and pharmacy costs over roughly the next 1 to 2 years … Read more

NPs Can Offset Psychiatry Shortage, Tackle Mental Health Crisis

With many psychiatrists not accepting insurance, and fewer psychiatrists billing Medicare due to reimbursement cuts, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are seen lately as part of the solution to the shortage of mental healthcare providers in the United States. In many states, these specialized nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, unlike psychologists and other therapists, … Read more

Overdose Deaths up 81% in Pregnant, Postpartum Women

Drug overdose deaths in pregnant and postpartum women rose by about 81% from 2017 to 2020, researchers report in a JAMA research letter published online Dec. 6. Pregnancy-associated overdose deaths were highest in 2020 as the COVID pandemic began, according to the researchers, Emilie Bruzelius, MPH, and Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD, with the department … Read more

Mistrust Lingers in Black Communities Amid 988 Launch

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — On a few occasions, Sitaniel Wimbley’s mother grew manic in her front yard. When neighbors were met with screaming and cursing on their street in Natchez, Mississippi, they would dial 911. An officer would arrive to collect Wimbley’s mother, who battled chronic bipolar schizophrenia. Her first stop was jail. Then she … Read more

Medical Societies Advocate for Behavioral Health Integration

A coalition of eight leading medical associations is calling for the integration of behavioral health into primary care practice, plus the expansion of mental health and substance abuse disorder services to fill the unmet needs for these kinds of treatments. Behavioral health integration (BHI) could save as much as $68 billion per year in healthcare … Read more

Depression Screens Do Not Reduce Suicidal Acts in Teens: Study

Screening adolescents for signs of depression does not reduce their emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or treatment for suicidal behaviors, according to research published on July 8 in Preventive Medicine. Adolescents who underwent a depression screening were just as likely to need these services as those who did not. In 2016, the US Preventive Services Task … Read more

Medicare Proposes Physician Pay, Policy Changes via Fee Schedule

Medicare’s 2023 draft physician fee schedule (PFS) proposes changes in policies for telehealth, opioid use disorder treatment, and dental services, as well as a plan for the limited use of fee-for-service funds to address social needs. In addition, the draft rule would expand opioid treatment and recovery services, including a bid for wider use of … Read more

Telemental Health Linked to Greater Post-Hospitalization Follow-up

High use of telemental health services by patients with serious mental illness (SMI) who live in nonmetropolitan US counties is associated with improvements in key outcomes, including greater post-hospitalization follow-up, new research suggests. In a nationwide study, researchers drew on Medicare data from nearly 3000 counties covering the period from 2000 to 2018. Results show … Read more

Adapting a Zero Suicide Approach to Native Communities

Edwina Valdo found herself on the receiving end of a desperate phone call last year on the suicide crisis line at Acoma Pueblo Behavioral Health Services in New Mexico. Valdo, whose regular job is as a grant manager, was filling in because the pandemic had left the facility short-staffed. “I did my best to keep … Read more