Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force Holds Listening Session with Key Stakeholders

DesperateThis post by Kathryn Martin originally appeared in the HHS’s blog on June 22, 2016.

On June 10th, Secretary Burwell and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Michael Botticelli, hosted a listening session to engage stakeholders in a discussion about mental health and substance use disorder parity implementation. Fifteen leaders of organizations representing consumer and provider groups from the mental health and addiction fields shared their perspective and offered recommendations for how to improve awareness of and compliance with the law.

More than 170 million people have better insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorder care thanks to new coverage and parity protections in the Affordable Care Act, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and Medicaid/CHIP.

The President established the Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity ( to build on that progress and to focus federal agencies on realizing these improvements. (more…)

Johnie’s Story

This post first appeared in The Odyssey Online on June 14, 2016. 

Children in foster care often remain voiceless so I decided we need to start listening.


Trigger Warning: Child and/or sexual abuse. The following story is from the point of view of a fictional five-year-old boy named Johnie. His voice represents the voice of thousands of children in foster care and thousands of children with no agency as they are victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

My teacher Ms. Jackson is so pretty. She wears dresses every day when she teaches us. I like learning about math and counting. I think I’m pretty good at counting. I used to help mommy count little bags filled with white dust. I asked her if I could play with it one day and she said no. I played with it anyways and started coughing so she had to punish me bad. That was a long long time ago. I don’t know what day, maybe a Tuesday. But today is a Thursday and Mr. Sun is shining so bright. I love that song in music class, “Mr. Sun. Sun. Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on me!”

Last night was a scary night. I had a nightmare but I think I was awake. I was on the mattress next to Mommy’s bed I sleep on and she had friends come over. I think they were having a brown bubbly drink and eating chips. I’m a bit sad because Mommy said she had no food for dinner but then she had food for the friends. One man came in and kept saying scary things to me. His name is Jones and he is really tall. I was sleeping with Peanuts. That is my stuffed elephant. I love Peanuts. He is so soft and a very good friend. He never yells at me and will always play with me. But Jones came into the bed with me and started asking me to play some weird game. I just wanted to sleep and he was scary. I said no and he hit me hard. I got a mark from it. (more…)

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift: A Prostate Screening

Men’s Health Month: Focus on Prostate Screening

By Dr. Jon Elion, MD, FACC and Founder/President of ChartWise Medical Systems. This post first appeared in ChartWise2.0 on Jun 16, 2016 in honor of Men’s Health Month.

runners-635906_1280June is Men’s Health Month, when we focus on prevention, detection, and treatment of disease in men and boys. As a cardiologist, it is tempting for me to use this platform to talk about heart disease. Instead I have decided to push myself beyond that, connecting to my cardiology roots while shooting for some extra bonus points by mentioning coding and Clinical Documentation Improvement.

I saw a patient in the office for follow-up two weeks after an acute inferior MI caused by a right coronary artery occlusion (that would be ICD-10 code I2.11). Remember that the meaning of “initial” and “subsequent” for MIs has changed since ICD-9, where it referred to the episode of care. But under ICD-10, this office visit for the single MI within the previous 4 weeks did not get any special code modifier. As he was leaving, the patient asked me to check his PSA (the Prostate-Specific Antigen which is used to help detect and screen for prostate cancer). Apparently his family doctor normally did this, but it hadn’t been checked in a while. He called a few weeks later to tell me that his insurance company refused to pay for the PSA check, as the test is not indicated in the context of a follow up visit after a heart attack. It would have been covered if I had documented our discussion and coded for an encounter for screening for prostate cancer (Z12.5). [See how I snuck in a mention of coding and Clinical Documentation Improvement?] (more…)

8 Notable Washington, D.C. Dads on Fatherhood 

We have been seeing many stories of violence and intolerance in the past few weeks. As we approach Father’s Day, Disruptive Women in Health Care has been taking time to focus on the unsung good men out there.  FEEL FREE TO SHARE STORIES ABOUT THE GOOD GUYS/DADS IN YOUR LIFE. We know that not all of our dads are with us anymore as we approach Father’s Day. We continue to honor and cherish their memories as well. **This article was written by Jessica McFadden and originally appeared in Mommy Nearest on June 11, 2015. 

lead image for 8 Notable Washington, D.C. Dads on Fatherhood 

Father’s Day in the Washington, D.C. area is always a great holiday—the weather is usually gorgeous (fingers crossed!), schools are out and work is paused as we honor the dads in our lives. We asked eight D.C. fathers to share with us their recommendations for celebrating their big day and their insights on parenting in the nation’s capital. These cool dads include a District Councilman, the key spokesperson for the MPAA, a rocking children’s musician, an education start-up founder, a kids’ party planner and some financial wizards with hearts of gold.

Read on for some inspiration on what to do for your own Father’s Day! (more…)

“20 Minutes of Action”: A Father’s Response To Dan Turner’s Statement

In light of recent events that have brought issues of violence and intolerance to the fore, Disruptive Women will use the next few days leading up to Father’s Day to highlight the good guys. There are many more of them. **This article was written by Kyle Suhan and originally appeared on Christine Suhan’s blog on June 6, 2016.  


Sex is always intentional, and [my sons] are going to understand that even consensual sex needs to be cared for with the utmost delicacy.

“That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock.” —Dan Turner

Steep? Mount Everest is steep. The peak of the emotional roller coaster Brock Allen Turner’s rape victim has only begun to descend is steep. Six months in jail is a joke; a speed bump, if you will. The “20 minutes of action” that Brock’s father minimizes in his above statement will haunt his victim for the rest of her life. It may have been a measly twenty minutes for him but for her, the impact of those twenty minutes will weave into every fiber of her being, every facet of her life, for its entirety.  In her letter, the rape victim states that she, “does not remember” the night Brock penetrated, groped, and left her behind a dumpster. But what she will soon find out is that her body will not let her forget. I know this because I married a victim of a college rape.

Steep will be the amount of time, energy, and financial resources that will go into undoing what Brock has done. Undoing is the wrong word here, what he did can never be undone. It can only be rewired, reworked, processed, and worked through again. When she is but a distant bad decision in your life, you will be a permanent fixture of her subconscious. (more…)

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