Emergency Department (ED) “boarding” – when patients get stuck in the ED for hours, sometimes days, because there is no placement option readily available – is an issue across the country and has received much attention in Massachusetts recently.
Earlier this month, The Boston Globe published an article highlighting the fact that many of these individuals have behavioral health conditions.
With April as National Autism Awareness Month, it’s a good time to recalibrate where we are when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
While there is much to celebrate, there is also a reminder for continued vigilance: children receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services achieve better outcomes with fewer hours of intervention, but its use is still well below the ASD prevalence rate.
The numbers aren’t good. Approximately, 16-20 percent of the nation’s children and adolescents have some kind of behavioral disturbance, with 4-7 percent suffering from significant functional impairment, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. That translates to about 15 million youths who need specialty psychiatry. However, there are only 8,300 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists. If every youth needing treatment was seen by one, that would be more than 1,800 patients per practitioner – an undoable ratio! However, this problem is not new, and with some creativity and practicality, phone consultation projects have been developed to address it. To get an understanding of just how they work, consider the story of Johnny Marks (a fictional case based…