Mental Health

Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization in Texas 1999 to 2010 - 08/14/2019

The primary purpose of the study was to examine the role public sector payers (Medicare and Medicaid) and providers (Texas state mental health hospitals) play in psychiatric hospitalization, using Texas annual hospital discharge files from 1999 to 2010. Psychiatric hospitalization, as defined by a primary behavioral health diagnosis (ICD-9 diagnoses 290-314.99) averaged 146,876 discharges per year, approximately 5.24% of all hospitalizations in the state. Children younger than 18 years accounted for 27,035 discharges per year. The top 4 diagnostic groups were depression (29%), bipolar disorder (22%), schizophrenia (18%), and alcohol-drug disorders (14%). More patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders were served by the public sector, while more patients with depression or alcohol-drug disorders were served by private insurance. Interestingly, patients with bipolar disorder were distributed relatively evenly across both payment groups and ages. Length of stay decreased fr...

Legislative Top 10: Improving Mental Health Care Squeaks into Law - 06/11/2019

Political maneuvering late in the Texas Legislative session saved efforts to improve the effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care in Texas. Today’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video looks at the moves to save Senate Bill 10, which will provide community-level health treatment programs, and mental health research.

Get Rewarded For Your Practice’s Behavioral Health Models - 05/07/2019

Have you integrated mental or behavioral health care into your practice? Is your practice’s model simple, innovative, and easy for a variety of primary care practices to copy and use for themselves? Are you interested in winning $10,000 for work you’ve already done? If the answer to all of those questions was yes, consider entering the Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ Behavioral Health Integration Innovators Competition.

Integrating Mental and Physical Health - 05/07/2019

Physicians strongly support a greater statewide focus on academic mental health and substance use research, and recognize the promise of new research opportunities presented through HB 10 and the institute. We are pleased to see HB 10 calls for a statewide research framework focused on preventing, identifying, and treating many serious and costly conditions, including depression, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.

“Conversion Therapy” Is Not Evidence-Based Care - 05/02/2019

The care for each of our minor patients must be built in an environment that supports an open, safe, and confidential patient-physician relationship – but also upon evidence-based care that supports the child’s development. We believe House Bill 517 sets a clear standard that families must be aware that practices to change sexual orientation that are not evidence-based can be harmful. We encourage your support for this important legislation.

The Texas Mental Health Care Consortium Will Benefit Texas Children - 05/02/2019

Senate Bill 10 establishes a Texas Mental Health Care Consortium among health-related institutions of higher education and the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council to enhance collaboration and alignment between these institutions and improve effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care.

Improving Children’s Access to Mental Health Care - 04/30/2019

Senate Bill 10 establishes a Texas Mental Health Care Consortium among health-related institutions of higher education and the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council. Its purpose is to enhance collaboration and alignment between these institutions and improve effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care. As a Texas physician, I can speak to our overall behavioral health workforce challenges, and as a Texas pediatrician, I can speak to the particular challenge of connecting children with mental health supports.

Legislative Hotline: Senate All Ayes on Children’s Mental Health Bill - 03/07/2019

With a unified voice and a unanimous vote, the Senate passed a bill this week designed to identify children with mental-health needs and direct them to appropriate, timely treatment.

Support the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium - 02/21/2019

Senate Bill 10 establishes a Texas Mental Health Care Consortium among health-related institutions of higher education and the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council to enhance collaboration and alignment among these entities and improve effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care.

Fund the Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative - 02/20/2019

Texas Medical Association supports Texas Education Agency Rider 74 appropriating $37 million in funds with school mental health purposes in the Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative (SHSI).

Fund Texas’ Mental Health Services - 02/19/2019

The legislature has dedicated significant resources in previous sessions toward closing gaps in the mental health and substance use disorder continuum of care, and we applaud your sustained commitment to this priority. This session, we have an opportunity to build on success already achieved and address remaining gaps in the behavioral health system. Despite recent improvements, current data inform us that only a fraction of those in need of treatment are able to access mental health and substance use care.

Low-Cost Counseling Available for Harvey Victims - 01/23/2019

It’s been almost 18 months since Hurricane Harvey battered the Texas coast, but its effects are still being felt, particularly in the mental health of people affected by the storm. Thanks to a grant from Rebuild Texas Fund, the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is offering free or low-cost counseling services for storm victims.

A Different Direction: Pediatrician’s Practice Unexpectedly Turns Toward Suicide Prevention - 12/07/2018

Last August, Uchenna Umeh, MD, made a career pivot and left her multispecialty practice to focus as much as possible on suicide prevention.

Sound Off On the State of Texas’ Mental Health Services - 10/15/2018

Have you received — or does your practice provide — mental health or substance-use services in Texas? If so, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) wants to hear what you think about the state’s behavioral health services system and is inviting you to share your opinions in a survey.

Change the Conversation Around Physician Suicide - 09/19/2018

TMA’s Committee on Physician Health and Wellness has created a continuing medical education coursecalled Break the Silence: Physician Suicide.

Thinking Big - 09/19/2018

Most public health measures languished in the 85th Texas Legislature, but those for mental health care stood out as a giant exception. Lawmakers passed more than a dozen bills aimed at improving mental health care. And at a time when most state budgets were slashed, funding for mental health care rose ― by a lot.

Depressed About Psychiatry in Texas? There's Good News! - 09/07/2018

Recent residency match data show some rays of sunshine are peeking through. Texas psychiatry residency programs offered 95 entry-level training positions in 2017 and 2018, the largest number recorded since the Texas Medical Association began collecting this information in 1996. In 2018, every one of these 95 positions were filled.

Here’s How to Get Paid for Medicaid’s New Mental Health Screenings - 08/22/2018

Texas Medicaid officials will hold a free continuing medical education webinar Wednesday focused on how Texas physicians can be paid for two new mental health screenings.

Get Paid for Mental Health Screenings Via Texas Health Steps - 08/16/2018

Physicians enrolled in Texas Health Steps are eligible for payment for postpartum and adolescent mental health screenings, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says.

Pediatric Medical Homes Get Children Off to a Great Start - 06/28/2018

Primary care pediatricians report that a main driver of acute visits in the adolescent population is for behavioral health concerns. Seventy-five percent of all children and youth with mental health disorders are seen in pediatric care settings.  Furthermore, addressing mental health concerns in the primary care setting can help reduce stigma associated with accessing care. Child Psychiatry Access Programs (CPAPs) are one unique solution to our current mental health workforce challenge.

Stopping Suicide: Three Things Physicians Can Do - 06/22/2018

Recent celebrity deaths and new data on rising suicide rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have drawn attention to the problem of undetected and untreated mental illness. How can the practicing physician — primary care or specialist — help address this growing problem?

Another $15 Million Awarded to State Mental Health Programs - 06/06/2018

State health officials have distributed another $15 million in grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations to help improve mental health care in Texas.

Ombudsman a Tool for Behavioral Health Patients - 06/01/2018

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has created an ombudsman position to help your behavioral health patients understand their rights.

Emergency Medicine Prevails in 2017 - 04/18/2018

As an emergency medicine physician, you won some key victories in the 2017 Texas Legislature. That’s because Texas Medical Association — now more than 50,000 members strong — did its part by representing all specialties across Texas, and working closely with physicians like you to protect your time, income, patients, and the community you serve. Here are some highlights.

State Grants Millions to Support Mental Health Initiatives - 01/25/2018

As part of an effort to improve mental health care in Texas, the state has awarded more than $75 million to several local organizations and state facilities, Texas health officials announced recently.