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Mental Health Advocacy, Awareness and News
APNA Highlights | Issues & Events | Legislative | Policy
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November, 2013

APNA Highlights
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APNA eLearning Center
Featured Session: An Introduction to the Neurobiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder

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All Purpose Discussion Forum

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26 APNA 27th Annual Conference Podcasts Posted!
We are pleased to announce that 26 session podcasts from this past October's conference have been posted online in the APNA eLearning Center. Conference registrants are able to use their Attendee Bonus Points to order the sessions for free as a part of their registration. Additional podcasts will be posted as they are reviewed - please stay tuned! For a listing of the current sessions available, click here.

APN Foundation Annual Activity Report
The American Psychiatric Nursing Foundation's 2013 Annual Activity report is now available. The overall mission of the American Psychiatric Nursing Foundation is to manage the charitable donations of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. It has a two pronged focus: to preserve the history of the association and psychiatric mental health nursing and to look to the future of the profession by funding innovative research. This report provides a snapshot of how the Foundation has worked to further its mission over the past year. Click here to view the APNF 2013 Annual Activity Report

The Board of Trustees welcomes your feedback! Please send any comments or questions care of ncroce@apna.org.

If you would like to join me in donating to our Dime-a-Day Fundraising Campaign: Ensuring the Future while Preserving our Past, please click here. Your donations will help us continue to invest in the future of our profession through the APNF Research Grants Program.

2013 Post-Conference Survey
The APNA Education Department needs your help in developing next year's Annual Conference: As we strive to build upon and improve our conference from year to year, we depend upon your feedback to guide us.

If you joined us in San Antonio, please take 10 minutes of your time to complete this survey. We need to know what worked well and what we can improve upon. If you were not able to come to this year's Annual Conference, please let us know what kept you from attending. We have just a few survey questions for you.

Click here to take the 2013 Post-Conference Survey

Who is Your Psych Nursing Icon?
This nurse has had a huge impact on your career and made significant contributions to the profession...she or he is the most iconic psychiatric-mental health nurse that you've known in your lifetime. Let us know who he or she is! Click here to fill in your icon's name and three words that describe them.

Application Deadline Approaching Fast!
The new Virtual Nursing Academy of APNA Champions for Smoking Cessation will offer 12-15 recipients an honorarium of $1,000 and complimentary registration to the APNA 28th Annual Conference, October 22-25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. APNA members are invited to apply for this year long learning collaborative, where Champions will implement innovative interventions at a variety of levels. Ideas for projects: Implement a Clean Indoor Air policy, Implement a Smoke-Free Campus policy, Initiate or enhance a smoking cessation initiative, Develop innovative tobacco cessation curricula, Incorporate smoking cessation benefits for employees, Partner with other organization(s) to provide or enhance smoking cessation, or Any other idea you might have! Application Deadline: December 16, 2013  | More Info

Issues & Events

Swedish and Polish researchers report a discovery that may provide a laser treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ("mad cow disease"). Investigators found they could distinguish diseased or aggregated proteins, believed to cause the diseases, from the well-functioning proteins in the body by using multiphoton laser technique, reported PsychCentral.com. These diseases arise when amyloid beta proteins are aggregated in large doses so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes. If the protein aggregates are removed, the disease is in principle cured. The problem until now has been to detect and remove the aggregates. The researchers are optimistic that photo-acoustic therapy, which is already used for tomography, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins. Full Story

By sharing data, technology, expertise, and new discoveries, researchers are quietly but rapidly pushing forward to reveal the genetic and biochemical causes of psychiatric disorders. A recent Psychiatric News article looks at the global genome initiative aimed at finding roots of mental illness. Full Story

More than six in 10 Americans support giving nurse practitioners more leeway to provide health care services, including prescribing medicines and ordering diagnostic tests without the need for supervision by a physician. Seven out of 10 oppose laws that prevent people from selecting nurse practitioners as their primary care providers, according to a poll commissioned by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Full Story

New roles for nurse practitioners and physician assistants may cut a predicted shortage of physicians by about 50%, according to a new study by the Rand Corp. Previous studies predicting severe physician shortages were based on the assumption that health care practices would not change how they operate and ignore provisions in the 2010 law that allow the creation of nurse-managed health centers and medical homes that could relieve physicians of some of their caseload. Technology improvements, also spurred by the law, could also relieve part of the shortage, reported USA Today. Full Story

The Department of Veterans Affairs has hired 815 Peer Specialists and Peer Apprentices, exceeding the hiring goal set in President Obama's Aug. 31, 2012 Executive Order aimed at improving access to mental health services for Veterans, service members and military families. On June 3, VA announced the department met another goal established by the Executive Order by hiring 1,600 additional mental health professionals. Full Story

On behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a guilty plea agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (JPI) of Titusville, NJ, and a $400 million criminal fine for introducing a misbranded drug, Risperdal (risperidone), into interstate commerce. A Johnson & Johnson Company, JPI must also pay $1.25 billion under a separate civil settlement concerning the same drug. The combined criminal plea and civil settlement agreement related to Risperdal totals more than $1.67 billion. The FDA approved Risperdal in 2002 for the treatment of schizophrenia and in 2003 for the short-term treatment of acute mania and for mixed episodes associated with Bipolar 1 Disorder. But JPI began in March 2002 to market the drug for the treatment of agitation associated with dementia in the elderly, representing that Risperdal was safe and effective for this unapproved indication and subpopulation.The FDA maintains that physicians may, within the practice of medicine, use a drug to treat patients for symptoms or diseases even when the drug is not FDA-approved for such uses. However, if a pharmaceutical manufacturer intends its drug to be used for a new use, not approved by the FDA, and introduces the drug into interstate commerce for that use, the drug is misbranded, and introduction of that misbranded drug into interstate commerce is a violation of the law. Full Story

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking two actions to further enhance the agency’s ongoing efforts to prevent and resolve drug shortages. First, the FDA is releasing a strategic plan called for in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) of 2012 to improve the agency’s response to imminent or existing shortages, and for longer term approaches for addressing the underlying causes of drug shortages. The plan also highlights opportunities for drug manufacturers and others to prevent drug shortages by promoting and sustaining quality manufacturing. Second, the FDA issued a proposed rule requiring all manufacturers of certain medically important prescription drugs to notify the FDA of a permanent discontinuance or a temporary interruption of manufacturing likely to disrupt their supply. The rule also extends this requirement to manufacturers of medically important biologic products. The proposed rule implements the expanded early notification requirements included in FDASIA. Full Story


The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury jointly issued a final rule increasing parity between mental health/substance use disorder benefits and medical/surgical benefits in group and individual health plans. The final rule implements the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and ensures that health plans features like co-pays, deductibles and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health/substance abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits. Full Story

For the first time, community mental health centers offering partial hospitalization services under Medicare must meet specified Conditions of Participation, under guidance released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The six Conditions of Participation (CoPs) establish requirements for client care, staff and provider operations, and quality measurement. The CoPs apply to community mental health centers (CMHCs) that participate in Medicare as partial hospitalization providers. Full Story

Michigan nurse practitioners and other nurses with advanced training could practice without oversight by physicians and prescribe drugs under legislation that won narrow approval November 4, 2013 from the state Senate despite opposition from the doctors' lobby, reported Crain's Chicago Business. The bill, passed 20-18 and sent to the House for its consideration, would give more autonomy to and provide for the licensing of "advanced practice" registered nurses - nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. Full Story


The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council), along with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck, announced the launch of Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH), a nationwide initiative calling for communities to prioritize serious mental illness. Introduced at a "Community Collaboration Summit" to leaders from both mental health and community-focused organizations nationwide, C4MH aims to take recent national discussions about serious mental illness deeper into communities to encourage change where it may have the greatest potential to impact individuals with these conditions and the communities in which they live. Full Story

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is Accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the
American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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