Enrollment for free integrated health care training starts July 15

APA plans to train more than 6,000 psychologists to work in and with primary and specialty health care practices.

Starting July 15, psychologists will be able to enroll in a new program developed by the American Psychological Association that will prepare you to work in integrated health care settings. As part of this program, free training is provided through APA’s Integrated Health Care Alliance (IHCA).

Psychologists who successfully complete two training courses — an introductory course on integrated care and a second course on the business aspects of integration — will receive eight hours of continuing education credit and be connected to a network of other integrated care practices. More importantly, by learning to work on a health care team, psychologists will get the chance to be at the forefront of addressing health care needs and improving patients’ quality of care.

By participating in this program, psychologists for the first time will have the opportunity to provide input to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the successes and challenges of shifting health care practices to alternative payment models. Psychologists are skilled behavioral change experts who understand the link between physical and mental health. Therefore, your integration into all areas of health care is essential to helping other providers and practices transition to a payment system based on quality of care and health outcomes.

APA’s goal is to train more than 6,000 psychologists to work with primary and specialty health care practices over the next three years.

Psychology’s role in changing health care 

The IHCA program is funded through a cooperative agreement between APA and CMS. Last year CMS awarded APA $2 million to launch and develop IHCA. The funding was provided through a CMS program called Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) and Support and Alignment Networks (SAN). Through this initiative, APA is serving as a SAN by providing a system for educating clinicians, and as a Practice Transformation Network by helping multiple health care practices move toward integrated care. CMS is aiming to prepare health care practices for participating in alternative payment models, reduce the total cost of health care and improve the patients’ quality of care.

One way CMS is requiring the health care industry to focus on quality is through the implementation of the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015, which established new quality-based payment models for reimbursing Medicare providers. Because of CMS’s influence on the commercial and private insurance market, the entire health care industry will soon begin moving away from the fee-for-service payment model.

The training provided through APA’s Integrated Health Care Alliance enables practicing psychologists to be part of that movement.

Interested APA members can register online now to receive access to the free online training and ongoing technical support once it becomes available in July.

If you have a question about the program, email the Center for Psychology and Health.