Introduction to the ECAF-2 at ABVE Meeting, April 12-14

At the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE) Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona next month, psychologist and vocational expert James A. Athanasou, PhD, will present “The Use of the Earning Capacity Assessment Form™, 2nd Edition in a Medico-Legal Setting: An Australian Experience.”

The Earning Capacity Assessment Form-2nd Edition (ECAF-2™) by Michael Shahnasarian, PhD is used to estimate future loss of earning capacity following an injury or accident.  At the ABVE meeting, Dr. Athanasou will provide an introduction to the interpretation of the ECAF-2, along with a critique of its use in an Australian context. Data on Australian accident victims (N=33) from a medico-legal vocational assessment practice are used as a basis for his evaluation.

Dr. Athanasou’s presentation will take place on Saturday, April 13, at 3:00 pm.  Continuing Education Units will be available for conference attendees.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit the ABVE Web site.

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PAR concussion app receives recommendation from NFL star Steve Young

steveyoungPlus, to mark Brain Injury Awareness Month, app is free through the end of March

PAR’s Concussion Recognition and Response (CRR) app, designed to help coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting or reporting the signs and symptoms of a concussion, recently received accolades from former NFL quarterback Steve Young.

In addition, to recognize Brain Injury Awareness Month, the CRR app will be available for download free until the end of March.

The CRR app was developed by concussion experts Gerard A. Gioia and Jason Mihalik. It provides instruction during the assessment of an injury, a return-to-play guide, and extensive concussion information.

“As a former NFL player, national spokesperson for the Positive Coaching Alliance, and someone who has personally experienced the significant effects of a concussion, I believe every parent of a young athlete and coaches should be fully aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion in a young athlete,” Young said. “To help them act and respond to this injury the right way, they need to have proper tools. Based on the great CDC Heads Up work that Dr. Gioia helped to create, the Concussion Recognition & Response App gives parents and coaches a great tool to identify kids with suspected concussions. It also is a great resource of information about concussions and what parents can do to help their child recover from the injury. This app should be a necessary part of every comprehensive youth concussion management and awareness program.”

Young played 14 seasons of professional football, all but two for the San Francisco 49ers. He retired in 1999 with the highest career passer rating among retired players and six NFL passing titles under his belt.

The app is available free through the end of March from the Apple® App StoreSM or Google Play.

Youth concussions are a hot topic in the news, with more and more emphasis being placed on athletes’ safety. Recent research found that even one concussion can result in long-term brain damage. What do you think? Leave a comment and get the conversation started!

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Mental Health Costs More Out of Pocket, Despite Parity Act

Although the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Parity Act) increased access to mental health and substance use services in hospitals, according to new research from the Health Care Cost Institute, individuals continued to pay more out of pocket for substance use admissions than for other types of hospital admissions.

The Parity Act requires large group health plans to make behavioral health coverage rules similar to those that cover medical/surgical benefits. Large group plans were also required to make copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums for behavioral health care equivalent with the most common medical/surgical treatments.

The report, the first of its kind to look at hospital spending, utilization, prices, and out-of-pocket payments for mental health and substance use admissions, studied people who were 65 and under and had employer-sponsored health insurance. It found that spending on hospital admissions for mental health and substance use grew faster than spending on medical/surgical admissions between 2007 and 2011. Furthermore, patients with mental health conditions paid 10 percent of their hospital bill in 2011 and patients with substance use disorders paid 12 percent of their hospital bill. Medical or surgical patients paid just 4 percent of the total bill in comparison.

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More Than Baby Blues

According to new research, new mothers are far more likely than others to report mild-to-moderate symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) after childbirth. The study, published in the March/April issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, found that 11 percent of women reported significant obsessive-compulsive symptoms at two weeks and six months after delivery, compared to the 2 to 3 percent of individuals in the general population diagnosed with OCD.

This, the first large-scale study of post-partum OCD, found that affected mothers reported classic signs of the disease – intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and fears and rituals related to the baby. Though the survey used self-reported data from 461 moms (329 of which provided information six-months after childbirth), none were clinically diagnosed with OCD. In more than half of the mothers, symptoms of OCD went away after six months.

Researchers posit that being obsessive and compulsive when caring for a newborn may actually be an appropriate psychological development, saying that problems only develop when the symptoms start interfering with the mother’s daily life.

About 70 percent of the women who had OCD symptoms also suffered from depression, supporting the idea that postpartum depression is its own disease, as the anxiety and obsessive symptoms are not typical for a major depressive episode.

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