The recent APA Convention was a great opportunity to meet with my colleagues from other states, provinces and territories and compare notes. This year was especially valuable with new ideas and affirmation that OPA is doing a great deal in many important areas.
The big issue that we are all facing is managed care: insurers ignoring the Federal Parity act and the continuing decline in reimbursement rates for psychological services.
APA’s Legal and Regulatory Affairs Office is leading the charge on the parity violations. Bobbie Celeste and I keep pushing on these issues as we hear of new violations. We need OPA members to keep us informed of problems with insurers that may be parity violations. Law suits are possible if we get enough compelling data to support our case.
There is action coming soon on the rate issue as well. Ohio is joining with many of our neighboring states to prepare for a major effort that can impact rates.
You can help. In fact, it won’t happen without you. We need more people working on insurance issues through Project FAIR and on our Insurance Committee. Step up and get involved in helping to solve this problem by joining the Insurance Committee. The Insurance Committee generally meets the first Thursday of the month at 8 a.m. by conference call.
We need more dedicated advocates for what we have planned. These insurance issues get fixed by legislative action at both the state and federal level. Politicians listen best to constituents. We are in touch with them but they need to hear from people in their districts. We need just a few good advocate members to match up with members of congress (16), with our U.S. Senators (2), with members of the Ohio Senate (33) and members of the Ohio House (99). That’s just 150 dedicated OPA members willing to build relationships with key decision makers to help us fight for you!
Many states are struggling with the push for licensure of Applied Behavior Analysts. Because of the leadership of Governor Kasich and Senator Bill Seitz, we have found a way for insurance to cover autism treatment. Certification of Ohio (Applied) Behavior Analysts under the Ohio Board of Psychology is now a model that other states are looking at for in-state regulation of this treatment. I was monitoring the rule making process while at the Convention and the draft rules are very well written. I am grateful that Ohio has gotten out front on this; gotten input from all the stakeholders; and come up with a solution that we all agreed on. Kudos to Psychology Board Director, Dr. Ron Ross, and Board President, Dr. Suzanne LeSure for their leadership.
Declining membership is plaguing many state psychological associations. Ohio is fairing pretty well by comparison. We are continuing to work to improve the value of membership and to communicate to members the return on their investment. We’d welcome your thoughts on the value of your membership. Our membership is aging. We are working hard to attract early career psychologists and keep them as members as dues increases phase in over their first seven years of membership. Many states are experimenting with new ways to attract and keep members and we are watching these efforts closely.
Many states are experiencing financial difficulties. OPA has a deficit budget this year, investing some of our reserves in a new staff position to help us strengthen our educational offerings and member services. The budgets approved for the next two years are balanced and conservative with additional expense contingencies we can implement if we are exceeding our income goals. At the APA Convention there was a great deal of discussion about training for our leaders in “financial leadership.” We all need some new approaches to non-dues revenue and OPA’s financial leaders are constantly discussing new ideas.
APA’s Telepsychology Guidelines were discussed at length at the Convention. Clearly, the work of our own Communication/Technology Committee under the leadership of Dr. Ken Drude influenced these guidelines. It will be interesting to see how psychology boards respond to the idea of an e-certificate that would qualify providers to work with clients in other states. I am hoping we can get Dr. Steven Behnke, Director of the APA Ethics Office and Dr. Ron Ross, Director of the Ohio Psychology Board, to do a workshop next year and spend some time on telepsychology. This is an area of opportunity and great risk.
Many states are doing workshops on the DSM-5 and ICD-10. Our DSM-5 workshop on June 28 in collaboration with The National Psychologist was a great success. We have a DSM-5 workshop on the agenda for the OPA Convention at the end of October. OPA is bringing Dr. Carol Goodheart, a past President of APA, who is just publishing a book on the ICD-10 for an all-day ICD-10 workshop in Columbus. We will offer more on these topics if needed.
Everyone is struggling to project the impact of healthcare reform on psychology. Our incoming President, Dr. Kathy Ashton, will be forming a task force on health care reform and integrated care. The OPA Convention (October 30-November 1) at Quest Conference Center in Columbus has many sessions relating to the impact of reform. (Registration is open now so you can review the schedule of programs.)
As we transition to moving our Convention from the fall to the spring we are planning a mini-convention in the spring of 2014 (April 24-25, 2014). This will also focus heavily on health care reform and integrated care. The theme of this mini-convention will be “Evolving Healthcare Structures: Psychology’s Place at the Table”. Our keynote speaker will give another perspective on the impact of reform.
Please contact me to 1) share information about insurance problems; 2) join the Insurance Committee; 3) sign up to be a warrior in the fight for psychology; 4) offer to help recruit new members; 5) to comment on the value of your OPA membership; and, 6) to comment, express concerns, or suggest other things we should be doing.