Category: Mental Health

Health detectives use house calls, ‘hotspotting’ to cut costs

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon AURORA The red cross on the hospital emergency sign shines like a beacon of hope. Some new refugees from Africa who are utterly perplexed by U.S. hospitals come seeking basic needs like food and diapers. One Aurora man kept showing up at University of Colorado Hospital for a variety of medical ailments. Providers treated and released him, but over and over, no one figured out the root of his problem. Finally, a team from a new program called Bridges to Care visited the man in his home and the answer was obvious. His sweltering apartment nearly suffocated them. Yeah,…

Health insurance customers want simpler system

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon GREELEY No one mentioned cancellation notices. And no one expressed concerns about costs. Instead, at a sparsely attended public meeting about health insurance issues Tuesday evening, potential customers wanted to know if they could skip filling out Colorados complex Medicaid application. I heard theres a form to fill out with income. Someone said theres a blank you have to fill in about your assets. What is the need for that? asked Jim Dale, a Greeley retiree who doesnt qualify yet for Medicare. Colorados new insurance commissioner, Marguerite Salazar, hosted the meeting. Her office doesnt run Medicaid programs….

Mental health care cuts pack prisons, ERs

By Kristin Jones I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS Theyre victims of car accidents, theyve been shot, or they threatened their parents. They have overdosed on cocaine, swallowed too many pills or passed out drunk. On an average Friday or Saturday night, they can make up about half of the sick, injured and wounded crowding the rooms and hallways of the emergency department at Denver Health. And theres one trait these patients have in common, says Dr. Chris Colwell, director of the department. Had they received needed prior treatment, they might not be there at all. These ER visitors, for all…

Mental health funding cuts fueled homelessness in Colorado

By Kristin Jones I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS Mark Maseros used to be a repeat customer at the ER when he wasnt in jail for drugs or theft. Now 54, Maseros spent three decades living homeless in Denver. Hooked on heroin that he took to self-medicate what he now recognizes as an anxiety disorder, he was taken to the emergency room after overdosing. Or he walked in with panic attacks. It was always good to go to the emergency room, because youd get things to deal with your uncomfortableness, says Maseros. If I said the magic words that I wanted…

Opinion: Protecting patients central to physical, behavioral health reforms

By Michael Lott-Manier For just a moment, forget the politics of health care reform they wont go anywhere, I promise. Picture a low-income family able to stay safe and whole, because a parent can afford to see a therapist for anger. Think about what it would be like if fewer people ended up in prison, and more of them in jobs, because they were able to get help for mental illness and addiction earlier in life. Your friend was struggling to stay in treatment for depression, but kept falling out when her yearly allotted visits were through; now she can…

Opinion: Despite good intentions, women not achieving good health

By Sarah Mapes Over many decades and centuries, many things have changed about American families. One thing that hasnt is that when it comes to health and health care, women are in the drivers seat. In two-thirds of American households, women are the primary health care decision-makers. We are more likely to choose our familys health insurance plan. We ensure that our children get vaccines and regular check-ups, that our husbands take their heart pills and that our aging parents get appropriate long term care. We account for 80 cents of every dollar spent at drugstores and do most of the scheduling of medical…

Opinion: Spend money on universal care not costly exchange

By Dr. Thomas Gottlieb Coloradans need health care. Its a basic human right. Yet as we get more information about Colorados new health insurance exchange, it seems less certain that people will get the health care they need. The exchange, also called a marketplace, seems more complex every day. I wonder if Coloradans who need the help most will even be able to understand this new system, much less figure out how to get care. There is a simple solution.We need universal health care, specifically a public single-payer health system that would assure all of us who need care can…

‘Man Therapy’ goes global

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The pseudo therapist is the ultimate manly man: part Ron Burgundy, part Dr. Phil, and part Burt Reynolds. Meet Dr. Rich Mahogany, the hilarious, irreverent online doc who uses dark humor to combat the deadly serious topic of male depression and suicide. Dr. M, as his creators affectionately call him, teaches breathing exercises complete with the F-word so you can deal with your SOB boss and that 105-year-old lady doing 7 in the fast lane. His idea of yoga is the seventh-inning stretch. He cleans his desk with a leaf blower, counts a long spell on…

‘Man Therapy’ goes global

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon The pseudo therapist is the ultimate manly man: part Ron Burgundy, part Dr. Phil, and part Burt Reynolds. Meet Dr. Rich Mahogany, the hilarious, irreverent online doc who uses dark humor to combat the deadly serious topic of male depression and suicide. Dr. M, as his creators affectionately call him, teaches breathing exercises complete with the F-word so you can deal with your SOB boss and that 105-year-old lady doing 7 in the fast lane. His idea of yoga is the seventh-inning stretch. He cleans his desk with a leaf blower, counts a long spell on…

Opinion: The Year of Mental Health at the Colorado Legislature

By Michael Lott-Manier Colorados 69th General Assembly convened in January in the shadow of heartbreaking tragedies in Aurora and in Newtown, Conn. Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislators from both parties expressed the desire to respond to a perceived connection between these atrocious crimes and serious mental illness. Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC), as it has done for 60 years, met with legislators and lobbyists to educate them about mental health. We reminded them that the vast majority (96 percent) of violent crimes are not committed by individuals with mental health conditions, that connecting violence and mental health in public policy further stigmatizes an already…