A message from Katherine C. Nordal, PhD: 2012 advocacy builds on groundwork

Health care reform implementation, Medicare reimbursement and assisting psychologists with their practice needs are all key priorities for the coming year

Katherine C. Nordal, PhDJanuary 26, 2012—As we begin a new year of advocacy on behalf of professional psychology, I want to share with members a few glimpses of key activities we anticipate for 2012, and take a brief look back at some recent advocacy highlights. 

Health care reform implementation remains a top priority for the APA Practice Organization and APA. Our annual State Leadership Conference (SLC) in March will focus on health care reform implementation at the state level and in partnership with our state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs). The 2012 SLC theme, “Bringing Psychology to the Table: State Leadership in Health Care Reform,” highlights our commitment to ensuring that the profession is fully engaged in health care reform implementation.

With the anticipated expansion of Medicaid programs and focus on integrated systems of health care delivery, we use communications vehicles including this e-newsletter and our Good Practice magazine to help members understand and cultivate practice opportunities in the evolving health care delivery system.

In addition to health care reform, members have told us that reimbursement for psychological services is a top professional concern. With Congress just back in session, APAPO will continue to push for an extension of Medicare psychotherapy payment restorations through 2012 and a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

APAPO will also continue to urge Congress to include mental health providers in health information technology (HIT) incentive payments. APAPO continues to meet with congressional offices to build support for and gain cosponsors for The Behavioral Health Information Technology Act of 2011 (S. 539), legislation to include mental and behavioral health providers in HIT incentive payments to improve coordination of care and outcomes for patients and reduce health care costs.

For a more complete look at APAPO’s legislative agenda for 2012, read the January 12 PracticeUpdate article.

As in years past, we will continue to support state psychological associations in challenging inappropriate health insurance company and managed care practices and seeking to ensure appropriate implementation of the federal mental health parity law.

APA Practice also remains committed to providing information and resources to assist psychologists with their practice needs. For example, APA’s extensive ongoing work related to developing and promulgating guidelines includes evolving areas such as telepsychology, as well as the clinical treatment of depression and obesity.

2011 Highlights

In fact, much of the activity we anticipate for 2012 builds on groundwork laid in recent years. The following list highlights a handful of APA Practice Organization and APA activities from 2011:

This brief column is intended to share just a few highlights of our recent and ongoing work on behalf of the profession.

As you help others, we look forward to helping you with your professional interests and needs in 2012 and beyond. Thank you for your continued support at this critical time for professional psychology.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me or call the Practice Organization toll-free at 1-800-374-2723.