Psychology leaders call on Congress
Around 450 psychology leaders from the United States, its territories and Canada gathered in Washington, D.C. from March 8 to 11, 2014, for the 31st annual State Leadership Conference (SLC) sponsored by the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) and APA. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act under way, this year’s conference focused on creating roadmaps for psychologists navigating the evolving health care system.
The changing landscape of health care reform set the stage for the opening address from APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD. “No single advocacy strategy for psychology can address the diverse legislative, regulatory and marketplace environments we see from one state to another,” said Nordal. “It’s like using a roadmap. Some travelers take the interstate while others take the back roads.”
While there’s no single path forward, Nordal described how APAPO — in collaboration with state, provincial and territorial psychological associations and other partners — is working to guide practitioners and help overcome roadblocks psychologists may experience on their journey toward new and evolving practice models.
The four-day State Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for psychology leaders to learn, network and advocate for professional psychology and consumers of psychological services. The annual event provides an important opportunity for leaders and grassroots members to engage in professional advocacy efforts vital to psychology.
On the final day of the conference, SLC attendees took three key advocacy messages to approximately 300 meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and staff:
- Congress should halt plummeting psychologist Medicare payments.
- Psychologists should be added to Medicare’s “physician” definition, and thereby be allowed to practice without unnecessary physician supervision.
- Psychologists should be made eligible for incentive payments for adopting electronic health recordkeeping systems.