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Latest News Around the Web

Childhood Abuse May Be Risk Factor For Later Alcohol Addiction.

The Los Angeles Times (3/16, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reports, “Abuse in childhood appears to be a particularly strong risk factor for developing alcohol addiction later in life,” according to a study published online March 15 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. “Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse surveyed 196 men and women who were inpatients being treated for alcohol dependence.” Notably, nearly “one-quarter of men and 33% of women reported a history of childhood physical abuse, while rates of sexual abuse were 12% for men and 49% for women.”

HealthDay (3/16, Preidt) points out, “Previous studies have found that alcoholics have higher self-reported rates of physical and sexual abuse in childhood than people in the general population, Markus Heilig, clinical director at the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a journal news release.”

Related Links:

— “Abuse in childhood common among alcohol addicts, study finds,”Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times , March 15, 2012.

Florida Bill Authorizes Veterans’ Courts.

The WUSF-TV Tampa, FL (3/15, O’Brien) website notes that Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that “authorizes each judicial circuit to set up a Veterans’ Court or program to handle the cases of veterans with psychological problems,” like substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, “or traumatic brain injury as a result of their military service.” WUSF adds, “Four Veterans Courts are already operating in Florida and will serve as a blueprint for other jurisdictions that have seen an increase of military veterans involved in the justice system.”

Related Links:

— “Florida Lawmakers Authorize Veterans’ Courts, “Bobbie O’Brien, wusf, March 14, 2012.

HHS Wants To Include Mental Health Parity Regulation In Healthcare Law.

CQ (3/15, Bristol, Subscription Publication) reports, “Health and Human Services officials haven’t issued final regulations for mental health parity because they want the requirements for such coverage to be part of the health care law implementation, the agency’s Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Sherry Glied said Wednesday.” Glied said, “I don’t think it’s a hold-up around parity. Implementing the health care law includes ‘the challenge of building this regulatory infrastructure around the insurance industry that should incorporate [mental health benefits].'” She added, “Mental health should no longer stand out there as a separate thing. It should be part of the fabric of what we do.”

CMS Chooses 11 States For National Project To Aid Mentally Ill Patients.

In continuing coverage, the Los Angeles Times (3/15, Gorman) reports that “California will receive funds to expand emergency psychiatric care, part of a national push to get mentally ill patients out of hospital emergency rooms and into psychiatric facilities, the federal government announced this week.” The Times quotes Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as saying that “treating psychiatric patients in ERs is not an ‘efficient use of healthcare dollars, and may be detrimental to vulnerable patients.'”

The Bangor Daily News (3/15, Cuda) reports that “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that 11 states — including Maine — and the District of Columbia will participate in the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration.” The Daily News quotes Tavenner as saying that “this new demonstration will help ensure patients receive appropriate, high quality care when they need it most and save states money.”

MedPage Today (3/15, Walker) reports that “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new demonstration project aimed at Medicaid beneficiaries who experience psychiatric emergencies.” The story adds that the new program is part of the Affordable Care Act and “will test whether Medicaid beneficiaries receive faster, more appropriate care when psychiatric institutions receive Medicaid reimbursement.”

Related Links:

— “California to get funds for emergency psychiatric care, “Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2012.

Study: No Increased Suicide Risk When Antidepressant Is Good Fit For Patient.

In continuing coverage, the Atlantic (3/10, Entin) reported, “A follow-up study to 2004 research, which had noted an increased risk of suicide among people taking certain antidepressants, particularly children and adolescents, has now reached a different conclusion. Contrary to earlier results, the new study,” published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, “found that when the antidepressant prescribed is a good fit for the individual, there’s a lower risk of suicide. The new study’s results were especially strong for adults and the elderly. Though there was no decrease in suicide risk among children and adolescents, there was also no increase.”

Related Links:

— “Can Antidepressants Actually Make Us More Likely to Commit Suicide? The Atlantic, March 9, 2012.

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