Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Fla., our nation is once again deadlocked in a debate over how to put an end to the seemingly endless string of gun-related tragedies playing out in our schools and places of work.
President Trump has suggested that we can solve the problem by arming teachers. He has also suggested that we should open more mental hospitals as a way of getting perpetrators of these crimes “out of our communities.”
Determining the appropriate level of care for a patient is as much an art as it is a science. Serious psychiatric symptoms that affect a person’s ability to function safely may appear as obvious indicators of those who require inpatient care.
Since the 1960s, U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities that provide more than 16 beds for the care of people with psychiatric and addiction issues have been known in legislative terms as Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD). Today, this designation has come to represent a significant barrier for Medicaid enrollees who suffer from psychiatric and drug-related issues. This is due to the little known and largely outdated “IMD exclusion,” which is a federal law that blocks Medicaid from making payments (in most cases) to facilities that qualify as IMDs.
Recent events have caused the entire nation to attempt to make sense of the losses sustained in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico; and now, in a different way, Las Vegas. Despite these disasters taking place over a thousand miles away from Vermont, our community struggles with the cumulative trauma from tragedies that are difficult to make sense of.
On August 20th the Brattleboro Reformer published an article about the Brattleboro Retreat's Annual Ride For Heroes, a motorcycle rally and fundraiser for the hospital’s Uniformed Service Program. On that day, Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark did a courageous thing: he publicly shared his story of experiencing a major depression, his decision to seek treatment, and his consequent recovery. As I read his account I found myself saying: Thank you, many times.
Published in March of 2017, “No One Cares About Crazy People” seamlessly weaves together the analysis of society’s historically harsh treatment of the mentally ill with journalist Ron Powers’ own very personal story. In this Keep Talking episode, he shares what he has learned as the parent of two sons with schizophrenia, his convictions about medical compliance, and his compassion for those who suffer with a chronic mental illness.
“SUICIDE.” I intentionally write it in capital letters, and place it in quotes, because so many of us find the word extremely difficult to see and to say. And yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified suicide as an epidemic in the U.S., with rates having reached a 30-year peak since they began to climb in 1999.
Timothy Wahlberg, PhD, and Clinical Director of the Prairie Clinic in Geneva, Illinois, answers questions and busts myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder in this Keep Talking interview.
Vermont is fortunate to have an established system of outpatient care for people who are recovering from opioid addiction. In fact, our state’s Hub and Spoke system has been nationally recognized as a model for other states struggling with the current opioid epidemic.
For nearly 200 years the Brattleboro Retreat has been a valuable health care resource and an important economic driver here in southern Vermont. That’s why one of my primary goals as hospital CEO is to ensure that the decisions we make today will allow the Retreat to continue serving the mental health and addiction treatment needs of people for generations to come.