Advocacy E-News July 28, 2014
July 28, 2014
A $650 MILLION DONATION FOR PSYCHIATRIC RESEARCH
Late on Monday, the Broad Institute, a biomedical research center, announced a $650 million donation for psychiatric research from the Stanley Family Foundation — one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research. It comes at a time when basic research into mental illness is sputtering, and many drug makers have all but abandoned the search for new treatments. Despite decades of costly research, experts have learned virtually nothing about the causes of psychiatric disorders and have developed no truly novel drug treatments in more than a quarter century. Broad Institute officials hope that Mr. Stanley’s donation will change that, and they timed their announcement to coincide with the publication of the largest analysis to date on the genetics of schizophrenia.
MORRIS WON’T DELAY GREYSTONE DEMOLITION
The Morris County freeholders won’t be pursuing a plan to delay the state’s demolition of the old Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany. Earlier this month, Freeholder Douglas Cabana suggested a resolution asking the state to put off the demolition for 90 days so it could review the latest proposal to redevelop the historic building. But Cabana has dropped that plan.
Interest in saving the building was rekindled this year after a New York developer came forward with a plan that he said would require no government funding. However, state officials declined to review that proposal.
PHOTOGRAPHY AS A BALM FOR MENTAL ILLNESS
To the casual observer, Danielle Hark was living an enviable life, with a devoted husband, a new baby and work she enjoyed as a freelance photo editor. But she was so immobilized by depression that she could barely get out of bed. That experience led her to create the Broken Light Collective, an online gallery intended to provide a supportive environment for photographers affected by mental illness. The site now has contributors from 150 countries.
NEW HEALTH LAW RULES COULD WIDEN INSURER NETWORKS
The Obama administration and state insurance regulators are developing stricter standards to address the concerns of consumers who say that many health plans under the Affordable Care Act have unduly limited their choices of doctors and hospitals, leaving them with unexpected medical bills. Consumers often chose health plans this year on the basis of price, without paying much attention to their provider networks. Under federal regulations, an insurer must have “a network that is sufficient in number and types of providers” to ensure that “all services will be accessible without unreasonable delay.”
In a recent memorandum to insurers, the Obama administration said it would focus on “those areas which have historically raised network adequacy concerns, including hospital systems, mental health providers, oncology providers and primary care providers.
WHEN THE CAREGIVERS NEED HEALING
All parents endure stress, but studies show that parents of children with developmental disabilities, like autism, experience depression and anxiety far more often. Struggling to obtain crucial support services, the financial strain of paying for various therapies, the relentless worry over everything from wandering to the future — all of it can be overwhelming. But a study published last week in the journal Pediatrics offers hope. It found that just six weeks of training in simple techniques led to significant reductions in stress, depression and anxiety among these parents.