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News Items – April 15, 2022

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Independent health care providers in Maine express frustration with Anthem’s payment practices
Maine Public
The issue is so widespread among mental health providers, the National Association of Social Workers in Maine hosted a virtual listening session with Anthem in mid-March. “And what we heard over and over again is that clinicians in the state of all levels are going unpaid,’ says Chris McLaughlin, the executive director of the Association. “Their message and attempts to figure out what’s going on are going unanswered. They’re getting denial notices without any indication as to why.”

Health care providers say Anthem billing problems are widespread
Portland Press Herald
Last month, groups that included the Maine chapter of the National Association of Social Workers convened a meeting between about 100 providers and Anthem executives to address the problem, said Chris McLaughlin, the association’s executive director. “To their credit, Anthem has dedicated some staff resources specifically to Maine to help sort through challenges. For some people it felt too little, too late. Some folks have made the decision to leave the Anthem network,” McLaughlin said.

‘Wonderful news’: Funding increases create more optimism for Idaho child welfare system
Idaho Capital Sun
Delmar Stone, executive director and lobbyist for the Idaho chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, told the Sun in January that he was extremely disappointed with the governor’s request for 21 new social worker positions, even though it was double what the department said it planned to ask for in December. “We needed at least 55 new social workers back in 2017,” Stone wrote in an email.

Stand up to stop harassment – take the White Ribbon pledge
VAntage Point
VA wants everyone to feel safe and welcome at all VA facilities, and the department remains dedicated to the zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and sexual assault. VA has partnered with White Ribbon USA and the National Association of Social Workers to implement the White Ribbon VA initiative.

Crystal Rodenbaugh is a member:
Is the best way to get over someone really to get under someone else?
Chalk (University of Kansas)
Crystal Rodenbaugh, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Tenfold Counseling Group, agrees with Maddie’s conclusion. “When you skip through the grief, you look for someone else to validate you and make you feel better about yourself,” Rodenbaugh says. “This is a pseudo self-confidence, because you are then reliant on someone else to make you feel good. This can lead to co-dependency and an increasing need to push down the negative feelings with the next sexual encounter.”

Vicki Braunstein is a member:
Shen middle schooler creates fundraiser to support mental health services
The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)
Jayden Skadra, a sixth grader at Acadia Middle School, has been in therapy since she was 7. She’s open about this fact because, well, why shouldn’t she be? “It’s not really a secret. It doesn’t have to be,” said the 11-year-old in the Shenendehowa Central School District. When it’s time for her appointment with Vicki Braunstein, a Saratoga Center for the Family licensed clinical social worker and therapist based at Shenendehowa, Skadra simply tells her friends where she’s going and says she’ll catch up with them soon. “I’m a very open person,” she said.

Social workers are quitting over Texas’ anti-trans child care order
Courthouse News Service
Randa Mulanax worked at Texas Child Protective Services for six years, ultimately leading a small unit of investigators in Austin. But when a new policy required her to investigate families of transgender children, Mulanax decided she couldn’t be part of a mission that “didn’t feel right.” In March, just weeks after the new rules went into effect, Mulanax resigned. In a letter to supervisors, she expressed concern these investigations would “cause trauma” and harm families “that are only trying to support their child and make them feel loved.”

Karen Franklin, executive director of NASW-TN, is a co-author:
We are mental health professionals and criminalizing sleeping in public will worsen homelessness
Commercial Appeal
Tennessee Senators are preparing to debate legislation on the Senate Floor that would make camping on all state and local public property illegal. Senate Bill 1610 failed last year but was revived and passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, despite testimony warning of potential unintended consequences. This proposed legislation makes camping or sleeping alongside a state or interstate highway a crime. The bill also targets homeless encampments and aims to expand the “Equal Access to Public Property Act of 2012” by adding local government lands to the list of places where camping is a felony.

Claire Lerner is a member:
Why Kids Engage in Negative Self-Talk And What You Can Do
Psychology Today
Children making negative proclamations about themselves is no doubt very distressing and disturbing. It is painful to think about your child feeling badly about himself. It is also a very complex phenomenon that can be hard to fully comprehend, because we can’t be in our children’s brains and know exactly why they are saying something so alarming—what they are experiencing and trying to communicate.

Miriam Kirscht is a member:
Ypsilanti mental health practice promotes healing through improv
Second Wave Media
Every other Thursday, a small group of people gathers in a meeting room at the Back Office Studio (BOS) in downtown Ypsilanti for an unusual type of therapy with the motto “Let yourself play!” Licensed social worker Miriam Kirscht is the founder of Improvisation Heals, a mental health practice that combines improv games and therapy. She’s been combining her interest in mental health and theater for decades, and started drop-in improvisation groups at the BOS’ co-working space about six months ago.

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