Author Archives: Susan

Heather’s Law May Help in Domestic Abuse

HB 36 became Heather’s Law and may help victims in domestic abuse situations so that law enforcement is alerted more quickly.

In present law provides that upon the issuance of a temporary restraining order or protective order in domestic abuse cases, the judge shall cause to have prepared a Uniform Abuse Prevention Order, shall sign such order, and shall immediately forward it to the clerk of court for filing on the day that the order is issued.

Present law further requires the clerk of the issuing court to transmit the Order to the judicial administrator’s office, La. Supreme Court, and to send a copy to the chief law enforcement officer of the parish where the person or persons protected by the order reside by facsimile transmission or direct electronic input as expeditiously as possible.

The new law:(1) Adds that the copy of the Uniform Abuse Prevention Order sent to the chief law enforcement officer shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency upon receipt. (2) Requires the petitioner to be notified of the right to initiate criminal proceedings and to be informed that the granting of a temporary restraining order or protective order does not automatically file criminal charges against the defendant

New Crime of Harassing Referees Comes with Mandatory Anger Management

Representative Henry’s bill has been signed by the Governor into Act 355 and creates the crime of harassment of a school or recreation athletic contest official, and sets penalties which can include mandatory counseling for anger management.

The new law defines the crime as the harassment of a school athletic or recreation athletic contest official that occurs under either of the following circumstances and that includes verbal or non-verbal behavior by the offender that would cause a reasonable person to be placed in fear of receiving bodily harm: (1) While the school athletic or recreation athletic contest official is actively engaged in the conducting, supervising, refereeing, or officiating of a school-sanctioned interscholastic athletic contest or a sanctioned recreation athletic contest. (2) In the immediate vicinity of a school-sanctioned interscholastic athletic contest or a sanctioned recreation athletic contest and is based on the official’s performance in the conducting, supervising, refereeing, or officiating of a school-sanctioned interscholastic athletic contest or a sanctioned recreation athletic contest.

New law provides the following penalties for persons who commit the offense: (1) A fine of not more than $500, imprisonment without hard labor for not more than 90 days, or both. (2) Performance of 40 hours of court-approved community service work. (3) Mandatory participation in a court-approved counseling program which may include anger management, abusive behavior intervention groups, or any other type of counseling deemed appropriate by the court. Cost of the program shall be borne by the offender.

The new law creates the crime of entry or remaining on site of a school or recreation athletic contest after being forbidden which provides that no person shall without authority go into or upon or remain in or upon, or attempt to go into or upon or remain in or upon, any immovable property or other site or location that belongs to another and that is used for any school athletic contest or recreation athletic contest, including any area in the immediate vicinity of the site or location of the athletic contest, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by any owner, lessee, or custodian of the property or by any other authorized person.

New law provides that whoever violates the provisions of new law shall be fined not more than $500, imprisoned without hard labor for not more than six months, or both.

Changes Made to Law when Investigating Student Threats of Violence, Terrorism

The Governor signed House Bill 193 into law and revises last year’s effort to improve school safety. Representative Bacala’s measure revises procedures relative to students investigated for making threats of violence or terrorism.

Present law provides relative to a student reported to a law enforcement agency for a threat of violence or terrorism, and provides for a judicial hearing on whether the student should undergo a mental health evaluation. The current law requires that the student shall not be permitted to return to school until undergoing a formal mental health evaluation.

The changes passed and signed by the Governor instead instruct authorities that a student who is the subject of a complaint and investigation shall be permitted to return to school by the school administration if at any point prior to a hearing the threat is determined not to be credible by the school administration, law enforcement agency, or district attorney or by order of the court after a hearing.

While present law requires the law enforcement agency file a petition with the appropriate judicial district court for a mental health evaluation, the new law instead says that if the law enforcement agency determines that the threat is credible and imminent, it shall report it to the district attorney, who may file such a petition not later than seven days after receiving such report. It requires that a student be permitted to return to school if the district attorney decides not to file a petition or does not do so within that time period.

The new law defines that a “credible and imminent” threat means that the available facts, when viewed in light of surrounding circumstances, would cause a reasonable person to believe that the person communicating the threat actually intends to carry out the threat in the near future or has the apparent ability to carry out the threat in the near future.

Another revision passed by the Senate was to prescribe a 7day time limit on the district attorney’s authority to file a petition for the examination of a student who makes a threat and add a requirement that the student be allowed to return to school if the district attorney decides not to file a petition or does not do so within that time period.

The law now is “If a law enforcement agency, based on its investigation as required by R.S. 17:409.4(B)(1), determines that a student’s threat is credible and imminent, it shall report it to the district attorney, who may file a petition no later than seven days after receiving such report with the appropriate judicial district court for medical, psychological, and psychiatric examination as outlined in this Subsection.”

Trump Takes Swipe at Healthcare Monopoly: Orders Transparency in Hospital Costs

On June 24, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First.” The Order requires the posting of standard charge information for services, supplies, or fees billed by hospitals, and special rates negotiated behind the scenes. “Providing access to this data will facilitate the development of tools that empower patients to be better informed as they make decisions related to healthcare goods and services.” And, “Access to this data will also enable researchers and entrepreneurs to locate inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement, such as patterns of performance of medical procedures that are outside the recommended standards of care,” the President wrote.

“To make fully informed decisions about their healthcare, patients must know the price and quality of a good or service in advance,” the President said. “With the predominant role that third-party payers and Government programs play in the American healthcare system, however, patients often lack both access to useful price and quality information and the incentives to find low-cost, high-quality care. Opaque pricing structures may benefit powerful special interest groups, such as large hospital systems and insurance companies, but they generally leave patients and taxpayers worse off than would a more transparent system.”

In 2017, the Administration issued a report titled “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition,” and was referenced in the June Ex. Order.

The report recommends developing price and quality transparency initiatives to ensure that patients can make wellinformed decisions about their care. “In particular,” the President wrote, “the report describes the characteristics of the most effective price transparency efforts: they distinguish between the charges that providers bill and the rates negotiated between payers and providers; they give patients proper incentives to seek information about the price of healthcare services; and they provide useful price comparisons for ‘shoppable’ services (common services offered by multiple providers through the market, which patients can research and compare before making informed choices based on price and quality).” Of inpatient care, 73 percent of the 100 highest cost services are shoppable and of outpatient, 90 percent of the 300 highest costs are shoppable.

“Improving transparency in healthcare will also further protect patients from harmful practices such as surprise billing, …”

“Making meaningful price and quality information more broadly available to more Americans will protect patients and increase competition, innovation, and value in the healthcare system.”

The President notes the Policy as follows: “It is the policy of the Federal Government to ensure that patients are engaged with their healthcare decisions and have the information requisite for choosing the healthcare they want and need. The Federal Government aims to eliminate unnecessary barriers to price and quality transparency; to increase the availability of meaningful price and quality information for patients; to enhance patients’ control over their own healthcare resources, including through tax-preferred medical accounts; and to protect patients from surprise medical bills.”

The Order also lays out the rules for making charges, including negotiated rates and rates worked directly with insurance companies, available to the public: “Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall propose a regulation, consistent with applicable law, to require hospitals to publicly post standard charge information, including charges and information based on negotiated rates and for common or shoppable items and services, in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly, and machine-readable format using consensus-based data standards that will meaningfully inform patients’ decision making and allow patients to compare prices across hospitals.” […]

[…] “Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs shall develop a Health Quality Roadmap that aims to align and improve reporting on data and quality measures across Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Military Health System, and the Veterans Affairs Health System. The Roadmap shall include a strategy for establishing, adopting, and publishing common quality measurements; aligning inpatient and outpatient measures; and eliminating low-value or counterproductive measures.”

Comments on Medscape, a popular physician and healthcare professional website and blog, were poignant.

Commenting was a psychologist. Dana Beezley-Smith| Psychologist ––Well, I for one am tickled pink. It’s a travesty that consumers have to purchase healthcare services without understanding what their portion of the expense will be. I wrote about this topic almost two years ago. (https://nationalpsychologist.com/2017/ 09/health-care-reform-update-pricetransparency-movementgrowing/104010.html) The devil’s in the details, of course, as proposed and final rulings will take some time, but if it plays out right, the entire provider
insurer-patient relationship will be transformed. No more secrets. Hospitals won’t like this, insurers won’t like this, but perhaps private physicians can prove they offer more value per dollar than giant hospital systems do. At the very least it encourages the consumer to ask more questions.

Popular comments included:

Dr. Chris Burritt| Psychiatry/Mental Health ––The Hospitals practically operate as cartels…pushback from them should be viewed as a sign of going in the right direction. I hope Trump stays the course – this should be a bipartisan effort!!

Dr. Yehuda Mond| Internal Medicine ––Politics aside, President Trump is the only president who has the guts to face on the pharma companies, call their bluff, and end the status quo. He’s the first to explain to the American people where the problem is and how it can be solved. We’re paying through the nose with unfettered billions of our tax and insurance dollars going straight to pharmaceutical companies. While this will not solve all our problems, if he is successful (ahem, so-called democrats), then it will reduce healthcare costs across the board. Please folks, put your unjustified hatred towards our president aside and show him your support.

Dr. Kathryn Duplantis| Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine –– president trump 2020! I wrote him a letter recently addressing the challenges that we doctors are facing including rising overhead, constant fighting with insurance companies to be paid and increasing liability! We are tired of all the big bosses running healthcare! I want doctors to be able to run their own practices and not deal with all the bosses that have driven up the cost of healthcare! My practice is all cash and will retire with a cash practice!

Dr. Bianchini (L) and Dr. Greve (R) receive awards from Dr. Chafetz. The two were honored last month for their distinguished contributions in psychological science by the Louisiana Psychological Association

Psychologists Honored for Distinguished Contributions

The Louisiana Psychological Association has named Dr. Johnny Matson, Drs. Kevin Bianchini and Kevin Greve, Dr. Susan Tucker, Dr. Julie Nelson, and Dr. John Sawyer for their outstanding contributions in the psychology community. The awards were announced at the 71st Annual Convention and Business Meeting of the Association, held June 14 and 15 in Metairie.

For the prestigious 2019 Distinguished Psychologist Award, the association named Dr. Johnny Matson of Louisiana State University (LSU). Dr. Matson is Professor of Psychology and Distinguished Research Master at LSU and a top cited scholar who has been named by Thompson Reuters as one of the “Most Influential Scientific Minds of our Time.”

Dr. Matson is an expert in autism, mental disabilities, and severe emotional disorders in children and adolescents, and has produced more than 700 publications and 38 books. He has authored the International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Practitioner’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Practitioner’s Guide to Social Behavior and Social Skills in Children, and many others.

He has served as Editor-in-Chief for Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford England), Editor-in- Chief for Research in Developmental Disabilities (Oxford, England), and Associate Editor for Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities (London). Among his many professional activities, Matson has been a guess expert on ABC’s 20/20, consulted with the Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia, and the US Departments of Mental Health. He has been a guess expert on CBS Eye-to-Eye and consulted for the DSM III-R Educational Testing Service. He has served on the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, and consulted to the US States Department of Justice, and the US Department of Education.

The state psychological association named Kevin Bianchini, PhD, ABN and Kevin Greve, PhD, ABPP, as the 2019 recipients of the Contributions to Psychological Science Award.

The joint award acknowledged the two applied scientists and their roles in the systematic development of validity science based upon criterion-groups research, and the development of the rules for malingered pain related disability, explained Dr. Michael Chafetz, Awards Committee Chair. “Their scientific influence in our field has had considerable impact, and we are grateful for their outstanding contributions,” said Chafetz.

Dr. Kevin Bianchini is a board certified Neuropsychologist and Clinical Psychologist who has been in practice in Louisiana for 23 years. He was the Director of Neuropsychology for Bancroft NeuroHealth, a residential brain injury rehabilitation facility in Louisiana. He has remained involved in the rehabilitation of patients with acquired brain injury and pain throughout his career. He is actively involved in research and has published more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed professional journals on psychological factors and work related injuries, neurological rehabilitation, brain damage, neuropsychological assessment and symptom validity assessment.

Dr. Bianchini is a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology. He holds adjunct faculty appointments at Tulane University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, and at the University of New Orleans, Department of Psychology. He is the managing partner of Jefferson Neurobehavioral Group, which has offices in Metairie, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houston.

Dr. Kevin Greve has published more than 110 papers in peer-reviewed neuropsychology, psychology, and medical journals including papers on the assessment of the effects of traumatic brain injury and chronic pain. He is also the author of 10 chapters in edited books and has made more than 100 scholarly presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences. Dr. Greve has served on the editorial board of The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, and Assessment. He periodically serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several other journals.

He retired from full-time employment in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Orleans in May 2012, at the rank of University Research Professor after 21 years of service. He continues to be affiliated with the University of New Orleans as Emeritus Research Professor and holds a number of other academic positions. Dr. Greve is now in the full-time practice of clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology. He conducts approximately 150 psychological evaluations a year typically related to traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, dementia, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and the psychological effects of medical illness.

Dr. Susan Tucker is the 2019 recipient of the Award for Psychology in the Public Interest. Dr. Tucker, has been a key figure in reforms in the state correctional system. She is Psychologist and Assistant Warden at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, where she has focused on treatment and research showing innovations that reduce recidivism and that are based in the fact that most inmates have a substance abuse problem but few get the right kind of treatment. She launched the Steve Hoyle Intensive Substance Abuse Program at the facility to offer intensive treatment, skill development, educational opportunities, and post release support and care. “We thank her for her outstanding work that is certainly in the public interest,” said Chafetz.

Her effective and creative treatment approach has achieved a significant reduction in recidivism, from an expected first year rate of 18 percent to only 3 percent. Tucker has earned state and national recognition for these achievements, including from the Vera Institute of Justice who said the program “…should be a model for the nation.” Dr. Tucker’s work was also honored by the Ash Center for Democratic Government and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Dr. Tucker was commended by Louisiana legislators for her work and the related cost savings of $15 million by earned “good time credits” through participation and successes in the psychological programs designed by Tucker. Legislators pointed to multi-million dollar cost savings to the state because of shorter incarceration times of those offenders who participated in the psychological programs.

Julie Nelson, PhD, received the award for Distinguished Service in Psychology. She was cited for her service as LPA President and for her journalism and publishing of The Psychology Times. She is a consulting psychologist and owner of PSI, Inc. and serves the petrochemical industry in Gulf south region providing validity research and organizational development activities.

Dr. John Sawyer was named Early Career Psychologist. John Sawyer, PhD, ABPP is a board-certified neuropsychologist trained to evaluate children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics. He is the Co-Director of the Cognitive Disorders and Brain Health Program at Ochsner Health System, where he has led several clinically-focused research projects aimed at using telehealth and electronic medical record technology to provide care to individuals with dementia and their care partners while limiting the need for disruption of routine for hospital or clinic visits. His work will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology.

The LPA Awards Committee is chaired by Dr. Chafetz and committee members include Drs. Kim VanGeffen, Beth Arredondo, and Brian Mizuki. LPA is the state affiliate of the American Psychological Association.

Rocketman

by Alvin G. Burstein

This movie about Elton John dazzles, and raises provocative questions. The first of those is that of authorship. Is this a biography, or is it an autobiography? A biography is usually a straightforward historical account of its subject’s life told by someone else. It offers us a chance to evaluate the life, and to reflect on what constitutes a good one. It interests the reader who makes a judgment about whether the life was well lived, whether it was a good life. It has the authority of objectivity based on factual documentation.

An autobiography is authored by the subject. It has the authority of direct involvement. Though it may lack objectivity, it tells us the truth of what the narrator makes of his own life, and by implication, what he or she believes a good life to be.

So one would like to know what role Elton John, the Rocketman in the film, played in the construction of this movie. John himself is listed as an executive producer, and his husband, David Furnish, is listed among the producers. We can reasonably expect that the film conveys Elton John’s view of himself. We should view it autobiographically.

However, this autobiography is not cast in a traditional narrative mode. Rather than a straightforward historical account, it has been called a musical fantasy. Like any autobiography, it seeks to capture the truth of what Elton John makes of, or has made of, his life, but it does so in an unconventional way.

Rather than a conventional narrative, the film is a series of spectacles—perhaps a reflection of two of its subject’s salient features, his eyeware and his vocation as a musical showman.

In a way, the film is operatic, a collection of highly choreographed, coruscating song and dance extravaganzas interspersed with vivid, intensely dramatic episodes. It opens with Elton John in one of his extravagant glam rock outfits striding into a twelve-step therapy session, announcing that he knows the drill, giving his name and asserting his identity as a drug / and sex addict, an alcoholic, a bulimic and a homosexual.

What then unfolds is his life story as an unloved child, his father cold and his mother wayward, a musical prodigy from a working class family who evolved from pub musician to pop music idol earning millions. His life was one of extraordinary unbridled excesses that attempted to fill the void left by a lifelong lack of love. Ultimately, he comes to embrace his child self, and to forgive those who had failed him.

Basically, his autobiography portrays a struggle against social and economic disadvantage and self-abuse that battered and scarred its teller, but left him, in the words of his song, “Still standing.”

The film ends with an epilogue celebrating his thirty years of being ‘clean,’ of his life-long brotherhood with his lyricist, his devoted relationship with his husband and their two children, and his contribution to charitable causes, especially those of dealing with victims of AIDs and those who are socially disadvantaged.

There is a striking and curious omission in this autobiography. There is no allusion to Elton John’s knighthood. Born Reginald Dwight, he was dubbed Sir Elton Hercules John in 1998. The award acknowledged his charitable and musical contributions, but it also reflected his long association with the royal family. Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother were Elton John fans in the early 1970’s. In the early 1980’s, when he was playing for Prince Andrew’s twenty-first birthday party at Windsor Palace, he met Princess Diana. The couple danced a long Charleston together, and became close friends. When Diana died in an auto accident in 1997, Elton John rewrote Candle in the Wind, originally dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, as Goodbye England’s Rose, and played it at Diana’s funeral. There is a tenderness in this part of Elton John’s life that is missing from his autobiography.

Dr. Tony Puente and Dr. Art Graesser Keynote Speakers at LPA Convention

Dr. Antonio Puente, the 2017 President of the American Psychological Association, and Dr. Art Graesser, Professor in the Psychology Department and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the U. of Memphis and Honorary Research Fellow at Oxford, will lead off keynote addresses for 2019 Annual Convention of the Louisiana Psychological Association, to be held in June 14 and 15 at the Sheraton Galleria in New Orleans–Metairie.

Dr. Puente will deliver the Janet and Lee Matthews Invited Address on the opening day, a sentimental event following the death of community leader Dr. Janet Matthews in late March.

Puente, who will speak on “Making a Difference: Psychology’s Identity & Contributions in the Coming Decades,” has been at the forefront of changes in the profession, and the first and only psychologist ever to serve on the CPT committee, a key working group that helps define how healthcare services are structured through the codes and definitions. He lectures around the country about the issues affecting psychologists now and in the future.

Dr. Graesser is an expert in cognitive science, discourse processing, artificial intelligence and learning, who will deliver the Century Members Invited Address on Saturday, “Collaborative Problem Solving, Communication, and Comprehension in the 21st Century.”

Graesser is the lead author for “Advancing the Science of Collaborative Problem Solving,” the recent issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, published by the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Puente has presented his insider knowledge and thoughtful views about the sweeping changes in healthcare, tracking the payment changes such as those impacting issues of chronic diseases, care transition groups, team and interdisciplinary care, and population management. He has pointed to a “tsunai of change” before it started and follows the shifts to comprehensive care, uniformity, and integrative care, and the focus on performance.

Puente has said that the current and future paradigms include boutique services, prevention, integrative & multidisciplinary, and performance based reimbursement and a shift from federal to state.

For 15 years, Puente was the APA representative to the CPT system and was the person responsible for the adding the words, “Qualified Healthcare Professional,” to healthcare terms. For reasons that were very complicated and that he doesn’t fully understand, he ended up on the select, 17person team, CPT Editorial Panel. He was the only psychologist in that group, the only psychologist that’s ever been on the panel, and only the third non-physician that has ever been on the panel.

Dr. Graesser, who will deliver the Saturday keynote, says that collaborative problem-solving is a 21st century skill that is critical to efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation in the modern world.

Collaborative problem-solving is needed, not for routine work, or even team work, but for that event when a group must solve a novel problem where little or no plan for success exists and where team members are interdependent, each with different resources and knowledge, he has explained.

“CPS is an essential skill in the home, the workforce, and the community,” he writes, “because many of the problems faced in the modern world require teams to integrate group achievements with team members’ idiosyncratic knowledge. CPS requires both cognitive and social skills.” He and others note that we are in a new age, an age where rapid growth in information and technology is creating complexity in social, political, and economic systems. Everything is affected–– education, healthcare, big industry, small business and even family and home life. Problems are larger and more complex, they span disciplines, people and geography. What was once simple is no longer simple or routine.

Psychological scientists have made a distinction between shallow knowledge––the kind of cognitive information useful for solving simple, routine problems––and deep knowledge.

“Deep knowledge,” writes Dr. Art Graesser, expert in both collaborative problemsolving and artificial intelligence, “is achieved to the extent that learners comprehend difficult technical material, construct mental models of systems, solve problems, justify claims with evidence and
logical arguments, identify inaccurate information, resolve contradictions, quantify ideas precisely, and build artifacts.”

Deep knowledge can be trained into each individual, says Graesser. But another, and sometimes more efficient approach is to train individuals “… to better participate in collaborative problem solving so that groups can collectively master and implement deep knowledge.”

Dr. Tucker Looks at “Nudges” to Aid in Suicide Prevention

Dr. Raymond Tucker is again at the forefront of new research for suicide prevention. Last month he and collaborators authored “A Nudge in a New Direction: Integrating Behavioral Economic Strategies Into Suicide Prevention Work,” published in Clinical Psychological Science.

Dr. Tucker is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Louisiana State University (LSU), and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center /Our Lady of the Lake.

In the “Nudge” research, Tucker and co-authors looked at how behavioral economic strategies––using psychological phenomena to improve decision-making–– could improve efforts in suicide prevention. The strategies included nudges where social norms are tweaked, slight changes in question framing are applied, and adjusting item counts, are used to gently shape individual’s decision toward positive outcomes.

“Our research demonstrated that simply, how we advertise online suicide prevention materials can increase public awareness about suicide,” Dr. Tucker said. “College students asked to interact with an online suicide prevention program to help their loved ones cope with suicidal thoughts were 167% more likely to use the resource compared to those asked to click on the resource to help themselves navigate thoughts of suicide they may have in the future.”

“Although this change in wording may seem small, the theory of messaging resources this way is backed by work in behavioral economics and nudge messaging,” Tucker explained. “Specifically, most adults show an ‘optimism bias’ or a belief that negative things are less likely to happen to themselves in the future compared to others. Thus, a ‘nudge’ or change in wording to market mental health materials as helping others, not oneself, can help offset the optimism bias.”

Dr. Tucker’s research broadly focuses on the enhancement of theoretical models of suicide and suicide risk assessment tools, and he has published over 50 peer reviewed academic publications regarding suicide risk and resilience. He is a former member of the board of directors of the American Association of Suicidology and is a consulting editor for the academic journals Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and Archives of Suicide Research.

“As suicide prevention continues to extend outside of the therapy office to include public health approaches,” he said, “such as reducing access to lethal means such as firearms, the way suicide prevention resources are communicated to the public will benefit from lessons learned from decades of behavioral economics research.”

Tucker also serves as a consultant for Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) Care and provides trainings in the evidencebased suicide prevention framework to behavioral health providers across the country. He was named the Outstanding Psychology Trainee throughout the VA healthcare system by Division 18 of the American Psychological Association.

What does he think are the most important issues in suicide prevention that psychologists should know about? Two stand out for him.

“There is an evidence base for providing suicide specific care,” he said, compared to treatment as usual where a practitioner treats mental health concerns while managing suicide risk. He explained that just recently a large review and metaanalysis, the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Suicide Prevention,
compared treatment as usual to specific care.

“This meta-analysis demonstrated that these suicide-specific interventions, ones that few are trained on, enhance protection against suicidal thoughts and behaviors above standard psychotherapy for mental health concerns. Thus, suicide-specific care may help prevent suicide in patient populations.”

“The second point that stands out is that we are not likely to make meaningful changes in the countries suicide rate by providing better mental healthcare,” he said. “Suicide has increased by 30% since 1999 and over this time, research has clearly indicated that suicide is not just a manifestation of an untreated mental health disorder. Access to firearms, social and economic inequality, and even a state’s minimum wage systematically relates to suicide death at the state level. Scholars in suicide prevention argue that adequate mental healthcare is part of, but not the only piece of, reducing the alarming increase in suicide in the U.S.”

At LSU Dr. Tucker leads the Mitigation of Suicidal Behavior (MOSB) laboratory, where he and his students conduct research to guide suicide prevention efforts. “The MOSB lab is a community-based research program that uses research to enhance theoretical models of why people die by suicide as well as interventions and assessment methods based on these models. The MOSB lab is part of suicide prevention efforts on LSU’s campus as well as the department of psychiatry at Our Lady of the Lake.

“We also are involved in the National Suicidology Training Center (NSTC) housed at Baton Rouge the Crisis Intervention Center to improve healthcare provider training in suicide prevention. Across these partnerships, the lab has tested militaryspecific risk factors for suicide in Army soldiers and Veterans, how people’s stories about surviving a suicide attempt may increase help-seeking for mental health concerns, and how the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality can be used in medical settings to enhance suicide risk assessment and treatment.

PTSD to Be Covered for Firemen, Police

After being amended on both the House and Senate Floors, Senator Gatti’s SB 107, which adds PTSD to injuries covered by workers’ compensation for certain public employees, passed. The House vote was 99 to 0 and Senate was 34 to 0.

Amendments included: Specify that the posttraumatic stress injury shall be caused by an event occurring in the course and scope of employment and which the preponderance of evidence indicates that the event was a substantial contributing factor; Remove the determination and factors of whether the evidence presented to determine if an employee has a posttraumatic stress injury has successfully rebutted the presumptions provided for posttraumatic stress injury; and Add that a posttraumatic stress injury that arises solely from a legitimate personnel action such as a transfer, promotion, demotion, or termination, is not a compensable injury under present law.

The newest digest indicates that while present law requires the state fire marshal to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for volunteer members who participate in the normal functions of the fire company, the new law will also now require upon the purchase of a new policy or renewal of an existing policy, that any workers’ compensation policy which provides coverage for a volunteer member of a fire company, pursuant to present law, will include coverage for posttraumatic stress injury.

The new law provides that any volunteer member of a fire company who is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist with posttraumatic stress injury, either during his period of voluntary service or thereafter, shall be presumed, prima facie, to have a disease or infirmity connected with his volunteer service.

Once diagnosed with posttraumatic stress injury the volunteer member affected or his survivors shall be entitled to all rights and benefits as granted by present law to one suffering from an occupational disease.

The new law also provides that, except as provided in proposed law, any local emergency medical services personnel, any employee of a local police department, or any local fire employee who is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist with posttraumatic stress injury, either during employment or thereafter, shall be presumed, prima facie, to have a disease or infirmity connected with his employment.

An employee of the division of state police who is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist with posttraumatic stress injury, either during employment or thereafter,
shall be presumed, prima facie, to have a disease or infirmity connected with his employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.

Once diagnosed with posttraumatic stress injury the employee of the division of state police affected or his survivors shall be entitled to all rights and benefits as granted by state workers’ compensation law, as service connected in the line of duty, regardless of whether the employee is employed at the time of diagnosis.

The new law provides that a posttraumatic stress injury that arises solely from a legitimate personnel action such as a transfer, promotion, demotion, or termination, is not a compensable injury pursuant to present law. The law is set to become effective August 1, 2019.

Avengers: End Game

by Alvin G. Burstein

Avengers: End Game is the capstone of a decade of Marvel Comics super-hero sagas. It is a three-hour blockbuster loaded with features that will entertain viewers and deeply gratify followers of Captain America and his superhero team and their battles against forces of evil. The Avengers series has antecedents in a complex of earlier superhero Marvel productions whose central characters reappear in the Avenger episodes over the last seven years.

The film is a commercial and critical success, with a lot going for it. It brings Avenger fans up to date after the dire events in its immediate predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. It is studded with techno-glitz and special effects. There are mega-battle scenes with suspenseful action in the struggle for control of the Infinity Stones that the arch-villain, Thanos, used to decimate the planet in Infinity War.

But there are layers, complexities, that add to the film’s richness. One is its focus on an aspect of super-hero status that goes beyond special powers, those beyond ordinary human capability. That aspect is one that is admirable, but very human—self-sacrifice, caring for others.

C. S. Lewis, the Christian apologist, described four kinds of human love. Need love, for those who meet one’s needs; companionate love, for those who share a goal or interest; erotic love, sharing intimate knowledge of each other; and Agape, altruistic love, love that is not earned. The Avenger team members not only help one another, they care deeply for one another and risk sacrificing themselves, not just for one another, but also for humankind. While Lewis thinks of altruism as a virtue for ordinary humans, he takes it to be one that is the closest approach an ordinary human can make to God’s caring.

So, beyond a spectacle of titanic struggle, The End Game is a love story, a celebration of human, not super-human, love.

And then there is another layer. The film has an elegiac quality, it is suffused with sadness and a recognition of loss. I want to avoid spoilers, but there are painful losses at the film’s ending, and, though there are torches passed, there is a loss of innocence, a recognition that things can never be the same.

So it’s quite a film.

But critical honesty requires acknowledging some downsides. I had the sense that some of the depiction of black and female warriors, while politically correct in the best sense, had a formulaic edge. “Hero” has a masculine implication and “heroine” is not quite in the lexicon of the series. Generally speaking, too, the characters of color and women characters are less fully developed than those of their white male counterparts. And some questions about time travel and the film’s solution to the impact of changing the past—parallel universes—raises questions that don’t get addressed.

But it remains quite a film.

Gov Edwards Comments: US News &World Report Ranks Louisiana 50th

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has placed Louisiana at the bottom in their rankings of states. In the report, Louisiana’s total rank of 50th was a result of ranking 45th in health care, 48th in education, 49th in the economy, 48th in infrastructure, 50th in opportunity, 43rd in fiscal stability, 50th in crime and corrections, and in 50th in natural environment.

Washington state ranked first followed by New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, and then Vermont.
At the bottom of the list rankings slightly higher than Louisiana, was Alabama at 49th, Mississippi at 48th, West Virginia at 47th, and New Mexico at 46th.

In a press release on May 14 governor Edwards said, “Unfortunately, this ranking doesn’t accurately reflect the progress Louisiana has made in recent years and how much better we are doing today, given the gains that we have made in many critical areas that directly impact people’s lives.

“Louisianans know how much better we’re doing now than when we were facing down a $2 billion dollar deficit just a few years back. By working together across party lines, we’ve stabilized our budget, turned deficits into a surplus, are investing more in education at all levels and focusing on our infrastructure for the first time in years. We have improved our health care by extending coverage to thousands of working adults, we no longer have the highest prison population in the country, and higher education funding is fully stable.

“It takes time for improvement to show up in data, and some of the U.S. News and World Report’s data sources are several years old, which is frustrating. But we know we’re doing far better than we were years ago and we fully expect that will show up in future rankings.”

Governor Edwards Issues Executive Order in Battle Over Pre-Existing Health Conditions

One of the Governor’s priorities for this legislative session was protecting health insurance coverage for Louisianans with pre-existing conditions. The effort took a hit when Representative Chad Brown’s HB 237 was involuntarily deferred in Committee on Insurance. HB 237 would have prohibited health plans or health insurers from discriminating against a health insurance applicant based upon pre- existing conditions or health status.

On May 21, the Governor announced that he had issued an Executive Order establishing the Protecting Health Coverage in Louisiana Task Force, following efforts to repeal the protections offered to Louisianans with pre-existing medical conditions.

“Protecting coverage for the 850,000 Louisiana residents with preexisting conditions is a top concern of mine and should be a top concern for all lawmakers,” Gov. Edwards said. “Unfortunately, the Attorney General opted to join Louisiana into a lawsuit that threatens the coverage protections offered under the Affordable Care Act. One of the discussed solutions includes taking Louisiana back to the days of the high-risk pool, which only covered around one percent of people prior to the ACA. While we must take any step possible toward protecting our people, we can’t falsely claim we’ve completely solved this problem and risk tragedy for vulnerable people. Louisianans deserve better.”

The new Task Force includes the Governor, the head of the Louisiana Department of Health, the Insurance Commissioner, the Attorney General, members of the Louisiana Legislature, representatives of the insurance industry and health care consumer groups and experts in economic and fiscal modeling.

In the Executive Order the Governor noted, “… 849,000 non-elderly Louisianans had a declinable preexisting medical condition under medical underwriting practices in place prior to the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); … that included, but were not limited to: Alzheimer’s/ dementia, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, mental disorders, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke;…” […]

“Attorney General Jeff Landry joined a lawsuit, Texas v. Azar, seeking to invalidate the entire ACA;..” the Governor wrote, and said “invalidation of the ACA would eliminate health protections for people with preexisting conditions, eliminate financial assistance for people receiving coverage through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, and eliminate health insurance for Louisianans receiving coverage through Medicaid Expansion;

Also he wrote, “the Attorney General’s attempted fix in the event he is successful in eliminating the protections of the ACA is contained in SB 173 of the 2019 Regular Session;…” and “this legislation does not provide for the needed protections of the ACA but does include a nebulous study to create a ‘Guaranteed Benefits Pool’ under the exclusive purview of the Commissioner of Insurance;

“… the State’s pre-ACA high risk pool only covered one (1) percent of Louisianans in the individual insurance market; …” he wrote.

Because of what the Governor views as an incomplete and insufficient approach, he is directing that, “No executive branch departments of the State of Louisiana shall abridge a person’s access to health insurance as prescribed by state and federal law.”

And he created the “The Protecting Health Coverage in Louisiana Task Force” is hereby established within the Executive Department.

The duties of the Task Force include, but are not limited to, the following: The Task Force shall develop policy proposals to maintain health care coverage for Louisianans at risk of losing health insurance or health protections due to Texas v. Azar. The Task Force shall study and develop policy proposals to mitigate the impact of the loss of preexisting condition protections including, but not limited to: 1) guaranteed issue; 2) preexisting condition exclusion prohibition; 3) prohibition of lifetime and annual limits on coverage; 4) essential health benefits, 5) nondiscrimination. The Task Force shall study and develop policy proposals to mitigate the impact of more than 465,000 Louisianans losing Medicaid coverage due to Texas v. Azar. The Task Force shall study and develop policy proposals to determine the aggregate funding needed and financing options for the health coverage and health protections afforded by the ACA. The Task Force shall study and develop policy proposals to maximize insurance coverage and minimize out-of-pocket medical costs in Louisiana.

The members shall include: The Governor, or designee; The Secretary of Health, or designee; The Commissioner of Insurance, or designee; The Attorney General, or designee; The Chairmen of the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees, or their designees; Two at-large members representing consumer health groups, appointed by
the Governor; Two at-large members representing the insurance industry appointed by the Governor; and One at-large member with expertise in economics and/or fiscal modeling, appointed by the Governor.

Ψ We Remember Dr. Janet Matthews

Dr. Janet R. Matthews, “cherished and esteemed” colleague to many in the psychology community, died March 31, 2019, in Metairie, Louisiana, after a struggle with cancer. She was 73.

Dr. Matthews was known to be a remarkably competent person in all of her many roles–– educator, mentor, leader, author, and professional psychologist. She gave generously of her time, knowledge, and experience to others, and attracted them to her with her knowledge, wit and wisdom. Her strength, kindness and common sense made her a rock of the community.

“Janet was a powerful force in my professional life from my time at Loyola until the present day. I will always carry her with me,” wrote Dr. Laurel Franklin Harlin, colleague of Janet’s.

Dr. John Robinson, now Professor Emeritus at Howard University in Washington, DC, said, “Janet was my supporter…. my colleague…….my mentor…….and my dear friend.”

“Janet was as an absolute giant in psychology,” wrote Dr. Christoph Leonhard, “not just in Louisiana but nationwide. I personally was lucky to benefit from her wise and warmhearted council on many occasions and will forever be indebted to her …”.

The outstanding service and accomplishments of Dr. Janet Matthew’s life have left an “indelible mark on her colleagues, her students, her profession, and her community,” said a message from the Louisiana Psychological Association.

Dr. Matthews was a clinical and neuropsychologist, and held the diplomat in clinical from the American Board of Professional Psychology. She served as Full Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans until retirement.

Her contributions included extensive professional service, including the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association (APA) and president of multiple APA divisions and organizations. She was honored as a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academy of Practice and earned both the Mentoring award from Section IV (the Clinical Psychology of Women) of the APA Division of Clinical Psychology and later the Lifetime contribution to clinical psychology award.

She was named the 2011 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association for life achievements.

A Full Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, she served the university in numerous areas, including the Faculty Senate, the Arts & Sciences Awards Committee, the Psychology  Department Curriculum Assessment Committee and the Advisory Board for University Honors Program. She was the faculty advisor for the Psychology Club and received her university’s award for Excellence in Advising.

Janet published five books including Introduction to Clinical Psychology published by Oxford University Press and Your Practicum in Psychology: A Guide for Maximizing Knowledge and Competence published by APA. She was a contributing author for 13 book chapters including
“Clinical psychology: Ethics of Therapists,” in The Handbook of 21st Century Psychology, published by Sage.

She has published over 80 journal articles, including her many contributions to Journal of Personality Assessment, Journal of Medical Education, Teaching of Psychology, Professional Psychology, and American Psychologist. And she presented over 100 professional presentations.

Dr. Matthews reviewed for PsyCRITIQUES and for Teaching of Psychology. She was a textbook reviewer for APA Publications, Harper Collins, Macmillian, McGraw-Hill, John Wiley, Harcourt Brace and others. She served as Consulting Editor for Teaching of Psychology.

Janet also served as an item writer for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, and she worked on the Advisory Panel for the G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series at APA.

She served on the Advisory Board of the American Board of Assessment Psychology and was Associate Editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Dr. Janet Matthews “loved professional service,” she said in 2009, explaining her long-standing involvement and depth of service in the American Psychological Association, punctuated by a position on the APA Board of Directors.

Janet also served as Chair of APA’s Board of Educational Affairs. She was President of Division 31, President of Division 2, and Division 12 sections IV & IX, and Secretary-Treasurer of Division 2 and Secretary of Division 12. She was a Fellow in APA Divisions 1, 2, 12, 29, 31, 35, 40, 42, and 52.

She was Chair of APA’s Committee Undergraduate Education, Board of Professional Affairs, Policy & Planning Board and Membership Committee, on the Council of Representatives for both Division 2 and Division 12, Ethics Committee for Division 2, Committee on Adulthood & Aging Division 42, and Fellows Committee Division 12, among many other contributions.

Janet was a member of Southwestern Psychological Association where she has served as President, President-elect, and as Secretary-Treasurer. She was a longtime member of the Louisiana Psychological Association, the Southeastern Psychological Association, the Association of Women in Psychology, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the International Neuropsychological Society. She was a member of the International Council of Psychologists, and the National Academies of Practice – Psychology, and member of the former New Orleans Neuropsychological Society, and served as president & secretary.

She served a full five-year term on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, including chair.

At Loyola, Dr. Janet Matthews was able to do what she truly loved. “I love teaching,” she said in 2009. “Teaching is the focus of my university. I love mentoring and keeping in touch with my students. I can tell you where dozens of my former students are now as practicing psychologists, because we keep in contact– constantly.” Her love of teaching and mentoring was reflected in the number of her former students who remained in regular contact with her.

She held a strong belief in the value of learning psychology. In 2015 she said that psychology enriched students’ lives and that was why it was so popular. “The material can be applied to a myriad of life experiences,” she said. “Thus, they have immediate relevance rather than something which needs multiple layers and future application.” It was important for today’s young adults, she said, “Because it can be used to better understand their world.”

She is survived by her beloved husband of 53 years, Dr. Lee H. Matthews of Kenner, also a very accomplished psychologist.

“I got into psychology in a somewhat atypical way,” Janet once explained. “I married a psychology major.” As an undergraduate at the University of Tampa, set to study law, she became engaged to her husband and soul mate, Lee, a psychology major, and “that was it.”

Their lives together took them to Trinity University and then to Kent State, and three during the Kent State shootings. Janet did not know for hours if Lee was safe. After that, Janet packed them up immediately and the couple headed back to San Antonio and Fort Sam Houston. The next years took them to North Carolina and Pembroke State University, then to Old Miss for doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, internships at U. of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, to a
teaching position at Creighton University, -and finally to New Orleans and Loyola.

Janet once explained how the couple always worked flexibly with the demands of dual careers, “That’s who we are. Its so much of what we do.” Janet and Lee wrote together on the subject: “A professional pair at the job market,” in American Psychologist, and “Husband/Wife psychologists describe life in post-hurricane Louisiana” in The National Psychologist. They authored their book Dual Career Couples, “Going shopping: The professional couple in the job market;” and a book chapter in Your Career in Psychology.

The Louisiana Psychological Association recently passed a resolution to honor Janet, writing, “…to acknowledge with gratitude the outstanding service and accomplishments of her life and the indelible mark she has left on her colleagues, her students, her profession, and her community.”

“… the members of the Council, and on behalf of the membership of the Louisiana Psychological Association, do hereby express sincere sorrow at the death of Dr. Janet Matthews whose loss leaves a void in our community and in our hearts, and extend posthumous tribute to her distinguished career of excellence and her commendable service to the community and her colleagues.”

Dr. Bill McCown, said, “Janet was indeed one of our few true legends. Her immense intelligence and wisdom were only equaled by her commitment to our profession–and by her heart. She always seemed to represent the best of what Psychology could be, even in our worst times. Perhaps her legacy needs to be for us to somehow come together more fully and rededicate our efforts towards the memory of this remarkable professional and human.”

“Janet was a friend and most respected colleague,” wrote Dr. Michael Chafetz. “She was a shining star in her leadership in the Psychology community as a teacher, researcher, mentor, noted author, organizer, leader, and just all-around Mensch!”

Janet was born September 2, 1944 in New York City, the daughter of the late Eugene Travis and Louise Baker Rogers. She is survived by her beloved husband of 53 years, Dr. Lee H. Matthews of Kenner, LA and their cat Judy as well as two cousins, Dr. Philip Rogers and wife Dr. Rima Salys of Boulder, CO, and Ms. Denise Rogers of Jackson, NJ.

The family invites you to share your thoughts, fond memories, and condolences online at www.lakelawnmetairie.com

Bill to Create Services for Trafficking Victims Passes Senate and Goes to House Health & Welfare Committee

SB 145 by Sen. Ronnie Johns was heard in committee, amended and passed to the Senate Floor where it was supported by favorable vote of 38 yeas and no nays. In the House it was referred to the Committee on Health & Welfare. It passed the Senate on April 29.

If it were to become law, the measure provides that, subject to appropriation by the legislature, the Dept. of Children and Family Services, working in collaboration with the Dept. of Health, and the Family in Need of Services Assistance Program, with the assistance of the La. Alliance of Children’s Advocacy Centers, to create a coalition to develop a human trafficking victim services
delivery model.

The proposed law further provides that the model is to be developed with consideration of the recommendations of and collaborating with the La. Human Trafficking Prevention Commission and Advisory Board, and provide a multidisciplinary and agency approach that coordinates resources and improves the statewide response and delivery of services to victims.

The new would designate that the human trafficking victim services delivery model is to provide a plan to address and promote the following goals including but not limited to:

(1) Safe and sufficient placements. (2) Available and adequate funding sources. (3) Stakeholder partnerships. (4) Coordinated response. (5) Appropriate and responsive services.

The Dept. of Children and Family Services is to promulgate any rules necessary to implement the provisions of proposed law, and that the Dept. of Children and Family Services is to provide a report on the development of the coalition’s services delivery model to the Senate and House
Committees on Health and Welfare by June 30, 2020, and annually thereafter until completion of the model.

Measure to Prohibit Cherry Picking by Insurance Venders Involuntarily Deferred

HB 237, a measure put forth by Rep. Chad Brown and supported by the Governor, to prohibit
discrimination by health insurance issuers in the individual market and small and large group
market based on health status, and from imposing any preexisting condition exclusion with respect to the plan or coverage, was involuntarily deferred in Committee on Insurance. The measure also took on six amendments.

The proposed law, if it would have passed, requires a health insurance issuer to include mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, and preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.

“Proposed law requires a health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage in the
individual or group market to renew or continue in force the coverage at the option of the plan sponsor or the individual, as applicable, except that the issuer may nonrenew or discontinue health insurance coverage based only on a failure to pay premiums or contributions, an act or practice that constitutes fraud or an intentional misrepresentation of material fact under the terms of the coverage, or the issuer is ceasing to offer coverage in the market.”

The new law prohibits a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage from establishing rules for eligibility, including continued
eligibility, of any individual to enroll under the terms of the plan based on any of the following
health status-related factors in relation to the individual or a dependent of the individual:
(1) Health status.
(2) Medical condition, including both physical and mental illnesses.
(3) Claims experience.
(4) Receipt of health care.
(5) Medical history.
(6) Genetic information.
(7) Evidence of insurability, including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence.
(8) Disability.
(9) Any other health status-related factor determined appropriate by the commissioner of insurance.

The proposed law prohibits a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage in La. from establishing lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for any participant or beneficiary.