Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

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Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Can't Get Enough Policy & Practice? Check out Our New Podcast Each Monday

Article excerpt

Study Examines Psychotropic Rx

Most antidepressants are prescribed by general practice physicians, including general practitioners, ob.gyns, and pediatricians, according to a study by sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The study found that 62% of 232 million antidepressant prescriptions written between August 2006 and July 2007 were written by general practitioners, as were 59% of the 272 million prescriptions for psychotropic drugs. Pediatricians wrote 25% of all stimulant prescriptions. Psychiatrists and addiction specialists wrote two-thirds of the prescriptions for antimania medications, 49% of prescriptions for antipsychotics, 34% of prescriptions for stimulants, and 21% of prescriptions for antipsychotics. The researchers noted that "concerns remain about whether patients treated in the general medical setting are receiving treatment concordant with evidence-based guidelines, psychotherapy, adequate medication monitoring, and appropriate intensity of treatment," adding that a previous study found that about two-thirds of primary care physicians reported they were unable to obtain outpatient mental health services for patients. The study appears in the September issue of Psychiatric. Services.

More HIPAA Goes to Rights Office

The Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights will now enforce the confidentiality of electronic health information as well as other patient records, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced. The office already had responsibility for enforcing the HIPAA's privacy rule, which guards nonelectronic personal health information. But enforcement of the HIPAA security rule for electronic health information had been delegated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Legislation approved as part of the Recovery Act of 2009 mandated better enforcement of both rules. Ms. Sebelius noted in a statement that electronic and nonelectronic health information increasingly overlaps. "Combining the enforcement authority [for both rules] in one agency within HHS will facilitate improvements by eliminating duplication and increasing efficiency," she said. CMS will continue to have authority for the administration and enforcement of other HIPAA regulations.

HHS Issues Privacy Breach Rules

The federal government is requiring physicians and other HIPAA covered entities to notify individuals when their protected health information has been breached. The rule went into effect last month. Under the rule, physicians have up to 60 calendar days from when they detect unauthorized access of protected health information to notify the patient. …

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