Graham-Cassidy health care bill would be disastrous for US mental health care

US Capitol domeThe US Senate may take action this week on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, a last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. If Graham-Cassidy becomes law, the consequences for US mental health providers and their clients would be disastrous.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will not score the bill before a September 30 deadline for Senators to vote on it. But estimates suggest that under the bill, at least 16 million Americans would lose health insurance entirely after 10 years, given the bill’s similarity to prior Republican health care bills. This would leave millions paying out of pocket for mental health care that is currently covered by insurance.

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Talkspace forces therapists to break rules. The rules may be the problem.

Matthew Henry / Burst / Licensed under Creative Commons ZeroApp-based therapy platforms may well represent the next evolution of psychotherapy practice. I praised Talkspace a few years ago for offering access to mental health care for many who otherwise would never find their way to a therapist’s office. But the platforms — Talkspace, Betterhelp, and the like — have run into controversy over their confidentiality policies. Therapists using these apps may have little to no ready access to the client’s full name, address, or other information necessary in an emergency.

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Every excuse for California’s MFT Clinical Exam pass rate, debunked

California flagAt the August meeting of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, I had a tense exchange with representatives from the state’s Office of Professional Examination Services about pass rates for the California MFT Clinical Exam. That pass rate has fallen off a cliff. For the first six months of the year, just 56% of those taking the test for the first time passed.

At the meeting, OPES presented about their exam development process, and argued that nothing meaningful had changed on their end. They and the BBS raised several hypotheses about both the current low pass rate and the drop in pass rate at the start of the year.

Over the past week, I investigated every one of the hypotheses offered. Not one of those hypotheses stands up to scrutiny.

Read moreEvery excuse for California’s MFT Clinical Exam pass rate, debunked

California’s MFT Clinical Exam is broken

California flagBack in May, I wrote about how pass rates on the California MFT Clinical Exam for licensure had fallen off a cliff. At the time, the state’s Board of Behavioral Sciences offered an explanation for why the pass rate might have been higher than expected at the beginning of 2016. However, they had no explanation for why the pass rate since then had fallen so far.

The most recent data on California licensing exam pass rates [page 25] makes clear that the alarmingly low pass rate in the first quarter of 2017 — when just 57% of first-time test-takers passed the MFT Clinical Exam — was not simply an aberration. It truly does appear that the exam is broken.

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Do something real about race

George Hodan / PublicDomainPictures.net / Licensed under Creative Commons 0Issues of race in the US routinely boil over into violence. Charlottesville is only the latest example. Before that, there was Charleston. And Charlotte. And Ferguson. And Baltimore. After each one, there is a wave of questioning on social media amounting to, “Why aren’t more white people speaking out about this?”

Some of that questioning comes from well-meaning and legitimately confused white people. Some of it comes from people of color who are tired of seeing senseless death after senseless death be forgotten with each new news cycle.

The problem with white people sharing on Facebook that they are against racism and racial hatred is that it’s an empty gesture. It reaffirms the individual’s beliefs to people who probably already share them. It becomes a circle of self-congratulation where white people get to reassure each other about how woke we all are. It feels good and does nothing.

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