Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Policy & Practice: For More Health Reform News, Scan the QR Code to Listen to Our Weekly Podcast, or Visit WWW.Clinicalpsychiatrynews.Com

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Policy & Practice: For More Health Reform News, Scan the QR Code to Listen to Our Weekly Podcast, or Visit WWW.Clinicalpsychiatrynews.Com

Article excerpt

Energy Drinks Lead to ED Visits

Emergency department visits related to nonalcoholic energy drinks increased from 1,198 in 2005 to more than 13,000 in 2009, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Visits peaked at 16,055 in 2008. More than 40% of visits involved mixing energy drinks with substances including alcohol, illicit drugs, and pharmaceuticals. A majority of the patients (77%) were aged 18-39 years; more than 60% were male. In a statement, SAMHSA officials warned that excessive caffeine levels in energy drinks can cause adverse reactions, including hypertension, dehydration, and arrhythmias.

Mental Health Wait Times for Vets

The Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs is calling for a formal audit of mental health services at VA hospitals. Committee members asked the Veterans Affairs Department's inspector general to conduct the audit. The request comes after a series of hearings raised questions about how long it takes for veterans to get an initial appointment and whether VA facilities are reporting mental health care accessibility accurately. "We have many questions about the overall implementation of mental health services at VA, but the most important is whether or not veterans can access the mental health care they need in a timely manner," the senators wrote.

Opioid Abuse Up 430%

Treatment for abuse of nonheroin opiates increased 430% from 1999 to 2009, according to a SAMHSA report. The report also found an increase in treatment admissions for marijuana (33%) and amphetamines (38%) during the same period. However, the report did find some improved admission rates for alcohol abuse (14%), heroin (5%), and cocaine (34%). Despite the improvements, the report is evidence of the overall need that remains, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement. The increase was observed in every region of the country, but admissions were highest in Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Arkansas, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Prior Authorization Questioned

Prior authorization might be an inappropriate approach for prescribing antipsychotics, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. The study examined the review policies of antipsychotics for 30 Medicaid programs. Requiring prior authorization for these medications could leave patients without needed treatment, according to study authors, who recommended that further research be conducted to determine the effects of utilization reduction as well as comparative effectiveness of antipsychotics. …

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