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To keep you better informed about some of the biggest news and developments concerning behavioral and mental health, below are 10 of the most significant reports published in December. Highlights include a 2024 forecast on mental health and stories on access, psychologist burnout, opioid use disorder screening tool and "ghost networks."

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1. Mental Health Executive Forecast: New Business Models, AI and Value-Based Care to Define Industry in 2024

Behavioral Health Business asked 10 mental health authorities to offer their predictions for 2024. 

2. Psychologists Reaching Their Limits as Patients Present with Worsening Symptoms Year After Year

An annual American Psychological Association survey found that for the third consecutive year, psychologists are reporting that many patients need more care and are presenting with more severe symptoms than in the past. In addition, psychologists are often working at the limits of their capacity and levels of burnout are high.

3. Bipartisan Bill Would Expand Behavioral Telehealth Services for Rural Americans

A bipartisan bill would help increase rural residents' access to virtual mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services by authorizing up to $10 million in annual grants.

4. FDA Approves First Test to Help Screen for Risk of Opioid Use Disorder

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new tool that uses genetic testing to help assess whether certain people are at risk of developing opioid use disorder.

5. Most Americans with Mental Health Needs Don't Get Treatment, Report Finds

A new report shows that about two-thirds of Americans with a diagnosed mental health condition were unable to access treatment in 2021 even though they had health insurance, and only one-third of insured people who visited an emergency department or hospital during a mental health crisis received follow-up care within a month of being discharged.



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6. Department of Defense Works to Dispel Stigma of Seeking Mental Health Care

The Department of Defense updated a policy on command notification requirements regarding the private nature of mental health care services that outlines confidentiality guidance. The goal is for service members to seek mental health care services or substance misuse treatment as easily and comfortably as all other medical services, without fear of command notification or professional penalty.

7. NY Attorney General Says Insurers Posting Inaccurate 'Ghost Networks' of Mental Health Providers

A report found that many of New York's health plans list mental health providers as "in-network" when they either don't take that insurance, aren't accepting new patients, or have non-working or incorrect numbers, among other issues.

8. Reported Drug Use Among Adolescents Continued to Hold Below Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2023

A survey found that the percentage of adolescents reporting they used any illicit substances in 2023 continued to hold steady below the pre-pandemic levels reported in 2020.

9. Treating Opioid Disorder Without Meds More Harmful Than No Treatment at All

A study revealed that in cases of opioid use disorder, short-term medically managed withdrawal (i.e., detox) and long-term rehabilitation treatments that don't incorporate continued use of buprenorphine or methadone are no more effective at preventing overdose deaths than no treatment at all.

10. Powerful Companies Push for New Workday Dedicated to Mental Health

A coalition of companies and nonprofits is trying to turn the first Tuesday in December into "Wellbeing at Work Day," an initiative aimed at changing the culture around mental wellness in the workplace.


 

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