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APA RESPONSE TO PRESIDENTIAL ORDER ON ACA

APA President Antonio E. Puente, Ph.D. has issued a statement in response to the president’s executive order to allow trade associations and other groups to offer their own health plans. In part Dr. Puente said: “Today, health plans are competing on how efficiently and effectively they provide care, but the president’s executive order, if carried out, would take us backward by letting plans once again compete on how few services they cover and ignore state health insurance protections. We are deeply disappointed that the administration is continuing to try to dismantle our health care system, instead of trying to increase enrollment and stabilize insurance markets.”

Click here to read the full statement.


APA OFFERS RESOURCES FOR COPING WITH MASS SHOOTINGS

The American Psychological Association has released a statement on the Las Vegas shootings and mental health responses to it. It includes advice on how to talk to children as well as a public health approach to gun problems. The statement, including links, can be found here.


APA WELCOMES WITHDRAWAL OF CASSIDY-GRAHAM

American Psychological Association (APA) President Antonio Puente, Ph.D. made the following statement in response to the withdrawal of the Cassidy-Graham bill:

“We are grateful to Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and the others who opposed the Cassidy-Graham health care legislation because of its projected harmful effects on insurance coverage, Medicaid and access to mental health and substance use services. We now ask Congress to take the constructive steps needed to strengthen the health insurance exchanges and increase coverage options.

“Medicaid is more cost-effective than private-sector coverage and is a lifeline for millions of Americans with mental health and substance use disorders and other chronic health conditions.”  Continue reading.


*URGENT* NEED FOR DMH VOLUNTEERS

The Red Cross needs you. Hurricane Irma has already ripped through Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and the rest of the Caribbean and is now barreling toward a weekend collision with Florida and the Eastern Seaboard.

We are appealing to all Red Cross Disaster Mental Health (DMH) volunteers to please, if possible, make themselves available in Disaster Relief Operations. The Red Cross in our state will need to activate tremendous resources in support of operations here and throughout the Southeast. We will generate these resources even as many of our volunteers are unavailable because they are deployed in Texas for Hurricane Harvey. Beyond responding to the direct effects of Irma, the NC Red Cross will also be opening shelters and taking on other relief operations for the anticipated influx of evacuees from Florida and elsewhere.

We need volunteers to update their availability status immediately. Click here for a tutorial video that walks you through the steps to do so on Volunteer Connection.

NB: The Red Cross can no longer accept applications from DMH volunteers who are not already trained by and registered with the Red Cross. We need more professionals like you to join the Red Cross as DMH volunteers. Please – take the opportunity to prepare for the next Harvey or Irma now by training and registering with the Red Cross.


NCPA CONDEMNS BIGOTRY AND VIOLENT PROTEST

The recent events in Charlottesville have occurred in the context of increasing polarization in political views throughout the country that is accompanied by anger and resentment. It also comes at a time when several minority groups are feeling increasingly threatened by the actions of government and nongovernmental parties. These factors have caused an increase in stress and anxiety among the citizens of our country, including North Carolina. NCPA condemns the racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, and anti-gay attitudes shown by many demonstrators in Charlottesville this past weekend. NCPA opposes discriminatory violence against others and mourns the loss of life that resulted from militant, organized bigotry. We are concerned about the increase in adverse psychological impact on both the targets and perpetrators of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Click here to read the full NCPA statement.


APA RESPONDS TO CHARLOTTESVILLE VIOLENCE

In light of the events in Charlottesville this past weekend, the American Psychological Association (APA) has shared with the media and others information on understanding the effects of traumatic stress and the normal responses that may follow abnormal events to help people cope with their thoughts and feelings. Click below for the information:

www.apa.org/helpcenter/disaster/index.aspx

In addition, APA sent a letter to the Honorable Michael Signer, Mayor of Charlottesville, expressing its condolences and offering support during this extremely difficult time. Please click below to read the letter.

www.apa.org/news/press/response/charlottesville-violence.aspx


DHHS ISSUES PROPOSED MEDICAID PLAN

On August 8, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a detailed, proposed program design for Medicaid managed care in North Carolina. This proposed design will provide over 1.6 million residents with an innovative, whole-person-centered, well-coordinated system of care. The proposed design, available at ncdhhs.gov/nc-medicaid-transformation, gives providers, plans and other stakeholders the opportunity to share feedback before the Department submits a revised waiver to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the fall. Comments are due by September 8. NCPA’s committees and boards will be reviewing the proposed plan and making comments.


N&O EXAMINES JAIL DEATHS – MANY WITH A MENTAL HEALTH LINK

The Raleigh News and Observer began a five-part series on Monday looking at deaths in North Carolina’s jails. Many of the cases cited in the article involve issues of mental health and substance use. Here are the links to the first two articles in the series:

On Wednesday, the N&O examines the issue of accountability for inmate deaths in Part 3 of the series.

Today’s article addresses inmates with mental illness, substance use disorders, or a combination of both, and how NC’s system handles this population.

Below is the link to Friday’s piece, the final article in the series.


POSITIVE IMPACT PROJECTED FOR 2018 MEDICARE PAYMENTS

CMS is projecting that due to changes in practice expense (e.g., overhead costs) psychologists will receive on average a 2% increase in payment for 2018. This is significant as many of the medical specialties are projected to have payment losses ranging from 1 to 3%. More information will be available in November when CMS releases the final rule on the fee schedule containing a breakdown of the values assigned to each service. Click here for more information.


BEING AN EFFECTIVE PSYCHOLOGIST ON AN INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAM

Working alongside individuals from different fields can present unique challenges for psychologists. The APA Practice Organization’s panel of psychologists offers advice for being an effective team member – click for the article: http://bit.ly/2uXKUSx.


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