Your monthly psychiatric-mental health nursing news and updates.
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Mental Health Advocacy, Awareness and News
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November, 2019

APNA Member Info

Online Continuing Education
Featured Free CE: Trusted Mental Health Agents of Change Require the Practice of Loving-Kindness to Self and Others

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Members' Corner

President's Message: Proud Partners on the Journey to Whole Health
Hi y’all! It is with gratitude and excitement that I introduce myself to you as your new APNA President. I hail from Louisiana and am a longtime professor and co-coordinator of graduate programs at McNeese State University. Mental health nursing has been my passion since I started in this field as a mental health technician in 1975 and I am thrilled to be able to spend time with all of you who share this passion. Read More

Nurses in Action: Discussing the Issues
Over the past year, psychiatric-mental health nurses from all areas of practice convened on APNA Member Bridge to engage with their community, ask for advice, and participate in lively discussions. Check out the top 3 discussions from 2019 to see what's on the minds of PMH nurses. View Now

Member News
Angela Amar discusses the addition of psychiatric and emergency room specialization at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas; Ben Evans explains the role of the nurse psychotherapist to DailyNurse; Susan Fogger serves as principal investigator for a $1.13 million grant to address the opioid epidemic; Michelle Giddings receives proclamation from the Mayor of Las Vegas; Pam Greene shares best practices for screening and assessing suicide risk; Kosuke Niitsu profiled by University of Washington Bothell; Andrew Penn publishes article on the communal nature of grief; Jeffrey Ramirez inducted as a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners; Judith Rice presents on access to care for homeless individuals with opioid use disorders; Kathleen Schachman helps secure federal grant to provide care for individuals with opioid use disorders, gives presentation on the opioid epidemic in rural Michigan; Stephanie Wynn details new residency program at Samford University. Learn More

Takeaways and Togetherness: APNA 33rd Annual Conference Recap
More than 2200 psychiatric-mental health nurses came together in New Orleans, Louisiana last month for the APNA 33rd Annual Conference. Over the course of 4 days, this community experienced learning, camaraderie, and collaboration. See some of the highlights now.

Register Now for CPI West
Come to San Diego, California on March 14-15 for a weekend of psychopharmacology and connection with your psychiatric-mental health nursing community! Planned for nurses, by nurses, the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute West offers up to 10 contact hours in pharmacology. Register now and save $50!

Featured Resource: Talking Change with Motivational Interviewing
Content expert Carol Essenmacher, DNP, NCTTP details a way to encourage individuals to make a change using motivational interviewing. See the tip here.

Free CE for Thanksgiving
As an expression of thanks for all the work psychiatric-mental health nurses do, please enjoy the following session free for everyone through the end of the year:

Trusted Mental Health Agents of Change Require the Practice of Loving-Kindness to Self and Others
1.0 Contact Hours
In this session, learn how to implement Caring Science (CS) micro-practices to reduce stress, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma.

Coming Soon: 2020 Call for Abstracts
Mark your calendars for the APNA 34th Annual Conference Call for Abstracts! The Call will open January 2, 2020 with a deadline of March 2nd. The theme is Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Proud Partners on the Journey to Whole Health. To help you start planning, click here to see the details from last year's Call for Abstracts.

New Members: 1502 New Members since July!

Issues & Events

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the approval of a first-of-its-kind Medicaid demonstration project that broadens treatment services available to Medicaid beneficiaries living in the District of Columbia (“the District”) diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) and/or serious emotional disturbance (SED).  At the same time, CMS is approving the District’s request to begin providing new services for its beneficiaries diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD). Full Story

At its October 31, 2019, meeting, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) presented its findings on the impact of authorizing NPs and PAs to obtain a waiver to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The presentation highlighted that this authorization in CARA increased access to treatment for patients in need of MAT. This increase in access was most pronounced in the Medicaid population, and nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) made up a higher proportion of rural waived providers. The presentation also noted that the increase in access was greatest in full practice authority states. This data shows that authorizing NPs to prescribe MATs is crucial to combat the opioid epidemic, but state barriers to practice lead to inequality in access to this important treatment. Click here to access the slides presented by MACPAC .

ERs throughout California are reporting a sharp increase in adolescents and young adults seeking care for a mental health crisis, reported MedScape. In 2018, California ERs treated 84,584 young patients ages 13 to 21 who had a primary diagnosis involving mental health. That is up from 59,705 in 2012, a 42% increase, according to data provided by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Full Story

Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040 -- nearly twice as many as today, according to a report released at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, in Washington, DC. The number of women with dementia is expected to rise from 4.7 million next year to 8.5 million in 2040. The number of men with dementia is projected to increase from 2.6 million to 4.5 million, reported Full Story

MedScape has released the 2019 APRN Compensation Report, which examines how longevity, degrees held and location impact an APRN's pay. Click here to access the report.

Symptoms of aggression and agitation in dementia patients may respond better to non-drug therapies such as massage, touch therapy and outdoor activities, a new study suggests. In a reanalysis of more than 163 studies involving nearly 25,000 patients, Canadian researchers found that multidisciplinary care, massage and touch therapy, and music combined with massage and touch therapy were more effective than patients’ usual care, reported Reuters. Full Story

A team of researchers from Japan's Nagoya City University and other institutions have discovered a method that may pave the way for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using a blood test, reported The Japan Times. The number of exosomes — vesicles that mediate intercellular communication — is reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. So a decrease in a protein called flotillin, a marker of exosomes, contained in blood is a key indicator of the disease, according to the research team. Full Story

Defying the odds, an individual at high risk for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease remained dementia-free for many years beyond what was anticipated. A study funded in part by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, led researchers to suggest that a gene variant may be the key, perhaps providing a new direction toward developing a treatment. The researchers suspect that she may have been protected because in addition to the gene mutation causing early-onset Alzheimer’s in her family, she also had two copies of the APOE3 Christchurch (APOE3ch) gene variant. Full Story

National Institutes of Health researchers found that a single, low-dose ketamine infusion was relatively free of side effects for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Studies have shown that a single, subanesthetic-dose (a lower dose than would cause anesthesia) ketamine infusion can often rapidly relieve depressive symptoms within hours in people who have not responded to conventional antidepressants, which typically take weeks or months to work. However, widespread off-label use of intravenous subanesthetic-dose ketamine for treatment-resistant depression has raised concerns about side effects, especially given its history as a drug of abuse. Full Story

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is implementing policies to expand access to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services furnished by opioid treatment programs (OTPs). Opioid treatment programs treat individuals with OUD using medication and other services. This new Medicare Part B benefit was mandated under the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act that President Trump signed into law on Oct. 24, 2018. Full Story


While states are largely responsible for crafting laws regulating the use and access of telehealth, the legislative picture is gradually becoming more favorable for the remote healthcare model. Adoption, especially in rural markets, is becoming more widespread, reported Healthcare Finance. This is particularly true when it comes to the use of telehealth to administer mental health services. A new survey from national law firm Epstein Becker Green has found that both state and federal lawmakers increasingly support coverage for mental health services provided via remote technology, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia now providing some level of coverage for telehealth services for their Medicaid members. Full Story

In Florida, spending on health and human services programs consume more than 40% of the $91.4 billion fiscal 2021 budget request Gov. Ron DeSantis submitted to lawmakers, reported The Center Square. The governor’s human services budget proposals include $54 million in increased spending to fight the state’s opioid epidemic, $17.6 million in new mental health and substance abuse funding as well as boosts in funding for child welfare, individuals with disabilities, seniors and veterans. Full Story


People seeking treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders continue to pay more and face more barriers to accessing care than those seeking care for physical illness, according to a report released today from Milliman, Inc., and the disparity has worsened over the past two years. Patients using commercial PPO health plans are significantly more likely to have to pay out of pocket for mental health care compared to general medical care, according to the report. When patients cannot find a physician in the plan’s network, they must go out of network and incur financial responsibility for a large portion of the bill. In 2017, 17% of behavioral office visits were to an out-of-network provider, compared to 3% for primary care providers and 4% for medical/surgical specialists. This disparity is a major financial obstacle to many with mental illness or substance use disorders. Full Story

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

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