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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2010; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.61.9.950
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John Talbott new editor of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: John A. Talbott, M.D., editor emeritus of Psychiatric Services, has been appointed editor of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Dr. Talbott is professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. He is also project director of HELPERS-PRO Professionalism Project at the university (medschool.umaryland.edu/professionalism). Dr. Talbott, who was editor of Psychiatric Services for 23 years (1981—2004), will be the 11th editor of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, which was founded in 1874. Eugene M. Brody, M.D., was the editor from 1968 until his death earlier this year.

Core set of inpatient performance measures completed: On January 1, 2011, free-standing psychiatric hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission that are surveyed under the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals will be required to use the Hospital Based Inpatient Psychiatric Services (HBIPS) core measure set. After nearly ten years of collaboration, the Joint Commission and several behavioral health associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, have completed work on the seven-measure set. Specifically, the new measures address admission screening for violence risk, substance use, psychological trauma history, and patient strengths; hours of physical restraint use; hours of seclusion use; number of patients discharged on multiple antipsychotic medications; number of patients discharged on multiple antipsychotic medications with appropriate justification; creation of a postdischarge continuing care plan; and transmission of the continuing care plan to the next level of care. The HBIPS measures are available in the Specifications Manual for Joint Commission National Quality Core Measures on the Joint Commission Web site at www.jointcommission.org.

Psychiatrists least likely to face malpractice suits: Out of 42 medical specialties, psychiatrists were the least likely to have a medical liability claim filed against them during their career (22%) and obstetricians-gynecologists and general surgeons were the most likely (69% for each), according to a recent publication by the American Medical Association that reported findings from the 2007—2008 Physician Practice Information survey of 5,825 physicians. The survey also found that most physicians were at risk of a malpractice lawsuit being filed against them over the span of their career. Among physicians aged 55 and older, 61% had at least one medical liability claim filed against them, 39% were sued at least two times, and an average of 161 claims were filed for every 100 physicians in this age group. Risk of lawsuit increased with age, as older physicians have greater "exposure." For all physicians, 42% had a medical liability claim filed against them, 22% were sued two or more times, and an average of 95 medical liability claims were filed for every 100 physicians. However, annual claim frequency was relatively low, with only 5% being sued in the past 12 months. Although the survey did not gather information about the outcomes of claims, the report notes that other studies have shown that the majority of malpractice lawsuits are eventually dropped, dismissed, or withdrawn, so claim frequency does not reflect rates of errors or malpractice. The eight-page report, Policy Research Perspectives: Medical Liability Claim Frequency: A 2007—2008 Snapshot of Physicians by Carol K. Kane, Ph.D., also details variation in claim frequency by gender, practice ownership, and delivery setting. The report can be found at www.ama-assn.org.

SAMHSA releases updated directory of substance abuse treatment programs: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs, 2010, an updated guide that provides information on more than 11,000 alcohol and drug treatment programs that are licensed, certified, or otherwise approved by substance abuse agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. territories. Organized and presented in a state-by-state format for quick reference, the directory is designed to quickly provide the reader with important information on levels of care and types of facilities, including those with programs for adolescents, persons with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders, individuals living with HIV-AIDS, and pregnant women. In addition, the directory includes information about forms of payment accepted and special language services available. The updated directory complements SAMHSA's Internet-based Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator (findtreatment.samhsa.gov). The online service, which is updated regularly and may contain more current information than the directory, provides readers with road maps to the nearest treatment facilities, complete addresses, phone numbers, and specific, searchable information on services available at those facilities. Copies of the updated directory may be obtained free of charge at www.samhsa.gov.

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