Spotlight on successful state advocacy

A brief wrap-up of several key legislative successes in 2012

By State Advocacy staff

Jan. 17, 2013—Much of the hard work surrounding health care reform implementation and securing the place of psychologists in evolving health systems will take place at the state level. APA and the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) work to support the efforts of state, territorial and provincial psychological associations (SPTAs) as they advocate for psychology in their respective health care systems.

Here are just some of the 2012 advocacy successes state psychological associations have shared with us:

  • Idaho funding successes — The Idaho Psychological Association (IPA) gained the restoration of a portion of the funding cuts for services to individuals with mental health diagnoses that had been made in previous years. The IPA also supported the restoration of funding for the Idaho Suicide Crisis Hotline. Before funding was restored, Idaho was the only state without a suicide prevention hotline. 

  • Massachusetts passes sequence of training bill — On Dec. 28, Governor Patrick of Massachusetts signed H. 1003 which allows appropriate supervised predoctoral training (practica) experiences to count as the second year of supervised experience required for licensure as a psychologist. Prior to this bill, the second year of experience could only be done as postdoctoral hours. 

  • Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society gains transparency act — The Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society (MNS) was instrumental in passing legislation aimed at upholding the scientific integrity of criteria used to make decisions about medical necessity. Advocates in the state were concerned about a policy change by Blue Cross Blue Shield MA (BCBSMA) that instituted the use of medical necessity guidelines without providing evidence-based support for those guidelines. According to a statement from Michelle L. Imber, PhD, ABPP the new legislation will “ensure that all patients have the advantage of current scientific knowledge in accessing their health-care benefits.” Read the full article from the MNS Fall/Winter newsletter (PDF, 506KB). 

  • Missouri gains inclusion of psychologists in adoption evaluations — The Missouri Psychological Association was successful in amending House bill 1032 to include psychologists as qualified professionals who can conduct adoption evaluations.

  • New Hampshire creates independent governing board for psychology — Prior to passage of the bill, which was signed by Governor John Lynch on June 19, New Hampshire was one of only two states in the country with an omnibus board governing all mental health professionals. The New Hampshire Psychological Association (NHPA) was successful in their advocacy efforts to establish an independent regulatory board for psychology. Read the full article in PracticeUpdate

  • New Jersey backs passage of bullying prevention bill — The New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) supported a bill which passed into law March 2012 that enables school districts to implement bullying prevention programs and antibullying training programs at no cost through various entities.

A strong partnership between the state and national levels will be critical as the country moves forward with health care reform and as we continue to promote the value of psychology in all areas of health.