President’s Message: May 2014

Evolving Healthcare Structures: Wrap Up

By: Kathleen Ashton, PhD, OPA President
Dr. Ashton at 2014 Convention

We are just finishing up our 2014 Convention “Evolving Healthcare Structures: Psychology’s Place at the Table.” Thank you to all who attended and made it a successful event! Moving the annual convention to spring seems to be a popular change, with many participants noting its convenience to complete those last minute CE credits. The ethics workshop was particularly well attended. If you’re still short on CE, there will be several quality stand-alone workshops in the upcoming months, and please take advantage of the many webinars offered from the convenience of your home.

The highlights of convention always include connecting with colleagues from around the state and meeting new members. Our ceremony to honor new licensees was a nice way to honor our newest colleagues, and a special lifetime achievement award to Dr. Jane Woodrow from the Ohio Women in Psychology was a great way to honor one of our members who has given long service.

For those of you who were not able to attend, I’d like to share just a few of the things I learned this year.

Psychologist = Advocate. This is not the time for psychologists to sit back and wait to see what happens. Dr. Antonio Puente gave a rousing keynote where he described his work advocating for psychological codes as one of the few non-physicians on the CPT decision making group. His key message: persistence and passion. Similarly, if psychologists want a place in integrated care, we will need to advocate about why our skills uniquely position us to add to an integrated care environment, and bring the data to back this up. Ohio has a strong history of advocacy, but with issues like Medicaid reimbursement and prescription privileges looming, we need more psychologists to provide their support (time, voice, and financial) to make our voices heard. Legislative Day is May 21, and I hope to see record numbers of our members attend and make a difference.

Cultural competence is vital. Drs. Wanda McEntyre and Denise Rabold shared their experiences with providing culturally competent care in medical settings, an essential skill in the transforming health care landscape. As ethnic-minority groups continue to grow, as well as linguistic differences, religious differences and other minority groups, psychologists will need to be positioned to work effectively with these populations. Psychologists could also be a logical group to help other professionals in health care gain cultural competence skills.

Psychologists in solo/private practice should consider new opportunities. The future of psychology in health care is strong, with psychology providing much needed behavioral knowledge and therapies vital to preventive, medical and mental health care. Psychologists with strong specialty practices or close to retirement probably do not need to concern themselves much with healthcare reform. However, there will be opportunities for many psychologists currently in small or solo practices to move into integrated care settings such as working closely with a primary care office or forming a multidisciplinary group practice. OPA is committed to helping these psychologists with the knowledge and skills it will take to translate their current skills into the psychology careers of tomorrow.

Psychology training models need change. Ohio psychologists are feeling like the current training models are not meeting the needs of the future health care structure. At the workshop presented by the Health Care Reform Task Force, Drs. Patrick Palmieri and Gary Sipps emphasized the need for psychologists to be trained in integrative care, multidisciplinary teamwork, brief report writing, among other skills. Dr. Morgan Sammons noted the need for more basics of psychopharmacology and medical knowledge in graduate training, even for psychologists who have no intention of training for prescription privileges. Several presenters noted the need for more business training in graduate school, and this is a refrain from many early career psychologists who find themselves negotiating contracts without very much knowledge of insurance, legal, or business practices in psychology.

There were many important presentations that I did not get to attend, and this speaks to the high quality of programs offered at Convention. I would like to thank the OPA staff and the Education Committee for their hard work in putting together a fabulous 2014 event!

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