News and Headlines


More Public Schools Are Now Offering Mental Health Services

An analysis of the latest available federal data by the Pew Research Center found 55 percent of schools nationwide during the 2019-2020 school year provided assessments evaluating students for potential mental health conditions. The number represents a four percent increase from the previous school year.  Yet a smaller percentage of public schools offered students treatments for conditions, the data shows. During the 2019-2020 school year, 42 percent of K-12 schools provided treatments such as psychotherapy, medication or counseling from a licensed professional. Services rendered varied both by geography and grade level, according to the data. Around two-thirds of middle schools and high schools offered mental health assessments, compared to just half of elementary schools. Further, more than 60 percent of schools in cities provide mental health assessments for their students, while 45 percent of rural schools did the same. Schools surveyed also detailed barriers preventing them from supplying their students with mental health services. More than half said they were limited in a major way by funding, while around 40 percent said services were cut short due to a lack of access to licensed professionals.

(Source: thehill.com)

Senate’s Medicare Drug Pricing May Ripple into Private Market

Congress is on the verge of passing historic drug pricing legislation that would allow the government to restrict prices for drugs covered by Medicare, but experts disagree on whether drugmakers will shift those costs to the private market. The reconciliation package the Senate passed Sunday includes drug pricing provisions that Democrats have been pushing for decades, including a framework for Medicare to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers, limit price increases to inflation and cap out-of-pocket drug costs for consumers. The bill wouldn’t directly impact the 211 million people with private insurance, but some experts say its provisions about pricing for drugs under Medicare could cause drugmakers to try to recoup some lost revenue in the private market. Health insurers and employers are among those worried that lower prices in Medicare will lead drug companies to turn to the private market to offset losses, a theory known as cost-shifting. The concern is particularly high for insulin and other drugs that would trigger a penalty if prices rise faster than inflation.

(Source: rollcall.com)

ODH Provides Update on Ohio Monkeypox Spread, Vaccination Efforts

During a virtual press conference on August 11, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff shared that ODH had reported 75 cases of monkeypox to the CDC as of August 10. Watch a recording of the press conference.

While ODH has stressed that anyone can contract the virus if they have prolonged skin-to-skin contact with or touch fabrics used by an infected person, the outbreak continues to take place primarily among gay and bisexual men and in major metro areas. Read “Monkeypox: How it Spreads” from the CDC. Roughly 8% of the people who have contracted the illness have been hospitalized, Vanderhoff said. No U.S. monkeypox deaths from this outbreak have been reported yet.

An additional 5,440 doses of the monkeypox vaccine arrived in the state this week, and ODH anticipates that Ohio will ultimately receive 13,560 doses (enough two-shot immunizations to help 6,780 people). In addition, the U.S. FDA recently granted emergency use authorization to an alternative procedure that applies the vaccine under the skin and requires 1/5 the dose of an injection. ODH said the procedure may help stretch limited vaccine supplies.

The state is working with local health departments on contact tracing and prevention education. Ohio Council members who offer primary care or nursing services may receive or may have received guidance and resources from local health departments or licensing boards on identifying, testing for, and treating monkeypox. Read “Monkeypox: Signs and Symptoms” from the CDC. Behavioral health care providers are encouraged to reach out to local health departments for assistance or questions.

ODH Says BA.5 Surge May Have Peaked or Leveled Off, Urges Boosters

During a virtual press conference on Thursday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said that the summertime surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron BA.5 sub-variant appears to have peaked or plateaued. Watch a recording of the press conference.

Ohio’s statewide case average was 408.6 per 100,000 people on August 11, down from 441.6 a week prior. The decline is the first time the average has fallen since June.

Vanderhoff said many recent COVID cases have been mild thanks to vaccinations. Roughly 68% of Ohio adults have had two COVID vaccine shots, which has limited the number of ICU admissions and the need for oxygen and ventilators, Vanderhoff said.

The health department continues to encourage Ohioans to get boosted to protect themselves from BA.5. While an omicron-specific booster may be coming soon, Vanderhoff urged Ohioans who have not gotten boosted not to wait to get the shot. ODH also shared that the CDC may issue revised COVID-19 quarantine guidance for school settings in the coming days.

Engaging Peers to Support Crisis Services

The Peg’s Foundation is hosting a virtual training on engaging peers is crisis services on Thursday 8/18/22 from 12pm-1pm.

Session objectives:
•    Explore the benefits of engaging peers in mental health crisis work
•    Learn how a hospital system shifted its operating system to include peers
•    Discuss how peers are and/or could be engaged in your community

More information, including registration for this free training is available HERE.

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