October 24, 2016

H. Steven Moffic, MD Honored for Psychiatric Work

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ICD10monitor’s resident psychiatrist, H. Steven Moffic, MD, who is also a popular guest on Talk Ten Tuesdays, recently received the received the Administrative Psychiatry Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Association of Psychiatrist Administrators (AAPA). 

The award was presented to Moffic on Oct. 6, during the fall APA meeting at the Institute of Psychiatric Services in Washington, D.C. The intermittently given award is the highest leadership and administrative honor that the APA bestows on professionals in the field. 

Previously, Moffic had received the one-time Hero of Public Psychiatry award from the APA's Assembly. 

Despite having retired from clinical work and his tenured professorship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2010, Moffic continues to write, present, and serve on boards. The 1971 grad of the Yale School of Medicine wrote the groundbreaking book “The Ethical Way: Challenges and Solutions for Managed Behavioral Healthcare.” And he has also edited columns for three psychiatric newsletters. 

The suicide death of American actor and comedian Robin Williams on Aug. 11, 2014 prompted ICD10monitor Publisher Chuck Buck to find a psychiatrist who could discuss the comedian’s death from a clinical perspective and to share insights on suicide and mental health with the Talk Ten Tuesdays audience. Moffic’s experience and insight fit the bill perfectly. 

“Robin Williams died on a Monday, and I spent a week before the scheduled Aug. 19 broadcast desperately looking for a psychiatrist to be on the broadcast,” Buck recalled. “Fortunately, the editor of Behavioral Health recommended Dr. Moffic – and I thought, ‘if I can’t get him, we’re doomed.’”

“My wife and I were in a hotel in Albany, New York, on our usual summer road trip to festivals on the East Coast,” Moffic said in an email. “I kept getting (emails) from my blog editor at Behavioral Healthcare, Julie Miller, saying that someone wanted a psychiatrist who could discuss the suicide of Robin Williams for a broadcast. Since she kept persisting, and I didn't want to disappoint her, I called your (Chuck’s) number, assuming that I had a good excuse to say ‘no,’ being on vacation." 

The phone call with Moffic inspired Buck to scrap plans for a 30-minute program but rather produce a 60-minute special broadcast. The program, featuring Moffic, focused on mental health coding and documentation in ICD-10. 

Since that first partnership, Moffic has gone on to speak about a variety of mental health issues in the context of national news on the broadcast, as when comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s casual remark that he thought he might be on the autism spectrum caused a national uproar. 

“And when transgender girl Leelah Alcorn committed suicide on Dec. 28, 2015 by walking in front of a tractor-trailer following months of being harassed for being transgendered,” Buck said, “we asked Dr. Moffic to discuss what was then being called ‘gender identity crisis.’” 

Moffic has also discussed the various mental health implications of depression, burnout, PTSD, workplace stress, bigotry, and, in February of this year, following the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, the apparent narcissism of Republican nominee Donald Trump. 

“The premise of Talk Ten Tuesdays is to delve into coding, clinical documentation improvement, and revenue cycle issues facing healthcare professionals,” said Buck. “But we also want to help bridge the gap between physical and mental health.” 

“Due to stigma everywhere in our healthcare systems and society, from the coding of diagnoses to the clinical care of patients, mental healthcare gets short shrift,” Moffic said. “Chuck Buck has recognized that this trend needs to be reversed, as there can be no quality healthcare without mental healthcare, nor a healthy society without paying attention to the mental health of its citizens and leaders.”

“Unfortunately, we know that all healthcare is imperiled by the escalating and epidemic rate of burnout among healthcare professionals,” Moffic added. “As Linda in the play ‘Death of a Salesman’ exclaims, ‘attention must be paid!’ And Chuck has done just that by paying attention to news items of relevance for an audience that heretofore has not been able to pay much attention to mental health. This is a model to emulate elsewhere in healthcare.” 

As a prelude to Halloween next Monday, Moffic is scheduled to be on Talk Ten Tuesdays this week to discuss healthcare’s embrace of the therapeutic value of humor. This comes in the wake of news reports of troublemakers dressed like clowns scaring people nationwide, and the news that retail giant Target has pulled clown costumes from its stores.
Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for ICDmonitor.com who has been writing on numerous topics facing the nation’s healthcare system (and federal oversight of it) for five years. 

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