What We Are Reading

By Joy Burkhard, MBA

Joy Burkhard

Here are my favorite articles since I last shared “What I’m Reading.” Note, I’m eager to get your thoughts on any of these articles, but particularly interested in your opinions about the three articles at the bottom; are you having problems with insurers? Let us know in the comments below.



Pregnancy Specific Anxiety Impacts How Long Women Breastfeed

New research published in June links anxiety and breastfeeding, a link moms have long been sharing concerns about. Read it here.


New Study Uncovers Heavy Financial Toll Of Untreated Maternal Mental Health Disorders

A report released in April just in time for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month estimates the cost of untreated MMH disorders in the U.S. at $32,000 per mother/child dyad or $14.2 billion for all births in 2017. Read it here.


Far More Women are Being Sent to Prison for Life Than 10 Years Ago, Especially in CA

California has the highest proportion of women serving life (or virtual life) sentences in state prisons–one out of every four female prisoners, according to a new fact sheet, and most have experienced prior sexual abuse and many had prior suicide attempts... Read it here.


Ratings for Behavioral Health Apps are a Mess —

As consumer behavioral health apps have proliferated, so too have ratings sites that aim to review them using metrics like the strength of their user experience, evidence basis, and data privacy. In a new study, researchers at the University of Washington examined the 25 most-downloaded behavioral health apps. They weren’t impressed by what they found: The most popular apps in the category “simply offered relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness skills, rather than bona fide behavioral health treatments.” And the various ratings sites aiming to evaluate these apps were “broadly inconsistent and often contradictory” in their assessments, the researchers wrote. Harvard psychiatrist John Torous called the new study “a must read for anyone interested in mental health apps.” Read it here.


Brain Structure May Play Key Role in Psychosis

Variations in the structure of the choroid plexus, which produces cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), could play a key role in psychosis. Read it here.


Legal Promise of Equal Mental Health Treatment Often Falls Short

Many patients like Bacon struggle to get insurance coverage for their mental health treatment, even though two federal laws were designed to bring parity between mental and physical health care coverage. Recent studies and a legal case suggest serious disparities remain. Read it here.


Ghost Networks of Psychiatrists Hinder Patients' Access to Care - STAT

I started calling a list of psychiatrists who supposedly took my insurance. Some of them were dead. Many weren’t taking new patients. Others didn’t take my insurance. I couldn’t find a single psychiatrist on the list to see me. It took months of networking for me to finally find a therapist.

I later found out that my experience was commonplace, possibly deliberate, and that such inaccurate provider lists have a name: ghost networks or phantom networks. Read it here.


Did Your Health Plan Deny You Care? Fight Back.

Most patients don’t argue when their health insurance won’t cover treatment or medication, but they should: Consumers win about half of their appeals. The process can sometimes be overwhelming, but there are ways to prepare and get help. Read it here.