Member update: November 1, 2010

To keep you up-to-date about our advocacy initiatives to advance and protect the practice of psychology, this update focuses on the APA Practice Organization’s (APAPO) recent legislative and regulatory advocacy initiatives. Among the highlights:

  • Gaining the introduction of federal legislation that would include psychologists in the Medicare “physician” definition. This is an important first step in a process to ensure that psychologists are able to provide Medicare mental health services free of unnecessary and outdated physician supervision requirements that hinder patient access.

  • Advocating to safeguard Medicare psychotherapy payment gains while minimizing potential future reductions in payments to psychologists. We continue to use a combination of grassroots advocacy and lobbying to keep the pressure on Congress to extend through 2011 the 5 percent payment restoration for Medicare psychotherapy services now set to expire at the end of 2010. Among other elements of our comprehensive legislative advocacy strategy related to Medicare payment, APAPO delivered a strong comment letter (PDF, 22 KB) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging the agency to reconsider disproportionate rate cuts for psychologists under the 2011 Medicare fee schedule. 

  • Monitoring implementation and seeking practice opportunities for psychologists related to the federal health care reform law enacted in March 2010. Key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are summarized in the article, "What the New Health Care Reform Law Means for You." (PDF, 1.4 MB)

  • Participating in a psychological testing data study mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. Thanks to advocacy by our Government Relations staff, the HITECH Act contains a requirement that the Department of Health and Human Services conduct a study to determine whether psychological testing data needs to be afforded the same level of privacy protection as psychotherapy notes.

  • Building bipartisan support for pending House and Senate legislation that would extend eligibility for electronic health record incentive payments to mental, behavioral and substance use health professionals. As federal rules to implement the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) take effect, professional psychology is advocating for the full inclusion of psychologists under the incentive programs contained in the law.

  • Providing guidance to members as the federal mental health parity law is implemented.  Numerous resources related to the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) are available in the Mental Health Parity section of the APAPO’s Practice Central website. The Winter 2011 issue of our Good Practice magazine, which members will receive in December, contains a special section about implementation of MHPAEA.

  • Assisting members with a wide variety of questions concerning matters such as legal issues in telehealth services delivery, patient privacy and confidentiality, and licensure. We’re here to help you with your professional needs. Send an e-mail or call (800) 374-2723 toll-free. 

The APA Practice Organization is here for you! These activities — and many more — would not be possible without the Practice Assessment, which sustains the APA Practice Organization’s efforts on behalf of the psychology practice community. Thank you for your continued support.

P.S.  If you missed it, you can access our first member update from October 5.