New CA law takes aim at long wait times for mental health care : Shots

When Greta Christina heard that Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians were staging a protest on Oct. 13, 2019, over long wait times for therapy, she made her own sign and showed up to support them. She’s had to wait up to six weeks between therapy appointments for her depression.

Ingrid Nelson


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Ingrid Nelson


When Greta Christina heard that Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians were staging a protest on Oct. 13, 2019, over long wait times for therapy, she made her own sign and showed up to support them. She’s had to wait up to six weeks between therapy appointments for her depression.

Ingrid Nelson

When Greta Christina fell into a deep depression five years ago, she called up her therapist in San Francisco — someone she’d had a great connection with when she needed therapy in the past. And she was delighted to find out that he was now “in network” with her insurance company, meaning she wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket anymore to see him.

But her excitement was short-lived. Over time, Christina’s appointments with the therapist went from every two weeks, to every four weeks, to every five or six.

“To tell somebody with serious, chronic, disabling depression that they can only see their therapist every five or six weeks is like telling somebody with a broken leg that they can only see their physical therapist every five or six weeks,” she says. “It’s not enough. It’s not even close to enough.”

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Then, this summer, Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer. Everything related to her cancer care — her mammogram, biopsy, surgery appointments — happened promptly, like a “well-oiled machine,” she says, while her depression care stumbled along.

“It is a hot mess,” she says. “I need to be in therapy — I have cancer! And still nothing has changed.”

A new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October aims to fix this problem for Californians. Senate Bill 221, which passed the state Legislature with a nearly unanimous vote, requires health insurers across the state to reduce wait times for mental health care to no more than 10 business days. Six other states have similar laws limiting wait times, including Colorado, Maryland, and Texas.

Unequal access to behavioral health care is pervasive

Long waits for mental health treatment are a nationwide problem, with reports of patients waiting an average of

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Poll: Voters’ doubts increasing about Biden’s well being, mental conditioning

The poll issues are component of a extensive battery of attributes about which voters were questioned to fee Biden — the exact battery utilized numerous instances all through Donald Trump’s presidency, and requested about both of those candidates very last fall, prior to the 2020 presidential election.

The new polling comes amid persistent concerns about regardless of whether Biden — who turns 79 on Saturday — will run for reelection in a few decades and as Democrats have grown ever more anxious with the party’s gerontocracy. Biden claims he will operate once more, but some longtime allies have lifted doubts. Even “Saturday Night time Live” not too long ago ribbed Biden around regardless of whether he was “lucid.”

The most rigorous scrutiny of Biden’s age and his verbal miscues experienced formerly been minimal to conservative information retailers and social media, mentioned Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who has surveyed for Biden.

“They’re jogging a quite intense marketing campaign on this, and it’s bleeding in excess of into the mainstream a little,” Lake claimed. “By and huge, the folks who believe this are Trump supporters in any case or they’ve been exposed to the correct-wing disinformation equipment.”

To Lake’s point, the Early morning Seek advice from poll normally displays that Trump voters and Republicans frequently believe Biden is neither physically nor mentally suit, and Biden voters imagine the reverse. Even so, independents — by a margin of 23 points — don’t agree that Biden is mentally in good shape now.

Just before previous year’s election, independents and voters over-all thought Biden was more bodily and mentally in good shape than Trump, whose mismanagement of the pandemic damaged his marketing campaign as the Biden camp embraced social distancing and generally eschewed significant occasions.

But with Trump gone as a foil for now, Biden is a lot more in the highlight than ever, and his over-all acceptance ranking commenced collapsing with the bloody withdrawal from Afghanistan. The ravages of the coronavirus Delta variant, congressional squabbling and general public perceptions about the overall economy also contributed to Biden’s difficulties.

The new Early morning Talk to poll displays 44 percent give Biden a favourable task acceptance ranking and 53 % disapprove. Biden’s acceptance rating is in essence unchanged about the previous two weeks — it was 46 p.c past 7 days and 45 p.c the week prior — considering that the passage of the

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Why Health-Care Workers Are Quitting in Droves

The moment that broke Cassie Alexander came nine months into the pandemic. As an intensive-care-unit nurse of 14 years, Alexander had seen plenty of “Hellraiser stuff,” she told me. But when COVID-19 hit her Bay Area hospital, she witnessed “death on a scale I had never seen before.”

Last December, at the height of the winter surge, she cared for a patient who had caught the coronavirus after being pressured into a Thanksgiving dinner. Their lungs were so ruined that only a hand-pumped ventilation bag could supply enough oxygen. Alexander squeezed the bag every two seconds for 40 minutes straight to give the family time to say goodbye. Her hands cramped and blistered as the family screamed and prayed. When one of them said that a miracle might happen, Alexander found herself thinking, I am the miracle. I’m the only person keeping your loved one alive. (Cassie Alexander is a pseudonym that she has used when writing a book about these experiences. I agreed to use that pseudonym here.)

The senselessness of the death, and her guilt over her own resentment, messed her up. Weeks later, when the same family called to ask if the staff had really done everything they could, “it was like being punched in the gut,” she told me. She had given everything—to that patient, and to the stream of others who had died in the same room. She felt like a stranger to herself, a commodity to her hospital, and an outsider to her own relatives, who downplayed the pandemic despite everything she told them. In April, she texted her friends: “Nothing like feeling strongly suicidal at a job where you’re supposed to be keeping people alive.” Shortly after, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and she left her job.

Since COVID-19 first pummeled the U.S., Americans have been told to flatten the curve lest hospitals be overwhelmed. But hospitals have been overwhelmed. The nation has avoided the most apocalyptic scenarios, such as ventilators running out by the thousands, but it’s still sleepwalked into repeated surges that have overrun the capacity of many hospitals, killed more than 762,000 people, and traumatized countless health-care workers. “It’s like it takes a piece of you every time you walk in,” says Ashley Harlow, a Virginia-based nurse practitioner who left her ICU after watching her grandmother Nellie die there in December. She and others

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