The past month has been quite busy and looking ahead I just see more of the same.
Our annual Legislative Day and Psychologists for a Healthy and Productive Ohio Health Fair was extremely successful. We had a large group of first-time advocates attending this year, including many students attending on scholarships provided by member and regional association donations. Thank you to our donors! From breakfast with the Legislative Black Caucus, to several presentations on aspects of the opiate crisis in Ohio, the day hit on issues where psychology can help. The health fair gave further evidence of the critical role psychologists play in meeting today’s health care needs. Our Public Service Award went to Representative Bob Hackett (R-74), who was the lead sponsor on the bill to update the Psychology Law. Visits with legislators and getting to see the House and Senate in session were among the highlights of the day. Hats off to the committee that worked on planning this year’s Legislative Day: Michelle Evans, Todd Finnerty, Katie Golden, Jenny Knetig, Cathy McDaniels Wilson, Roshni Rao, Angela Ray, Tim Shea, Jerry Strauss, Rita Wood, Karen Dapper, Julia Keller, Brad Potts and Bobbie Celeste!
We recently had a productive meeting with Miranda Motter, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Health Plans. We wanted to be sure that her members had all the information they needed to implement coverage of autism treatment services. Legislation that mandated coverage, gave the Board of Psychology the role of certifying Ohio ABA providers. Psychologists, social workers and counselors, who provide these services within the scope of their license, do not need to be certified. We also discussed Health and Behavior Codes with her. We are seeking an opportunity to provide her members information about these codes and how valuable they are in providing integrated care. We discussed a number of options for getting information directly to her members and several other matters of interest to them for which we can be a good resource.
We have been working on an issue relating to Medicaid, communicating with members, APA and others to gather information in preparation for a meeting with the Director of Medicaid. Dr. Bobbie Celeste recently sent out the following: “This is a very disturbing situation related to our elders and disabled who have both Medicare and Medicaid. On April 30, 2014 Ohio Medicaid released a Transmittal Letter announcing that it would not meet the 20 percent co-pay for Medicare primary – Medicaid secondary beneficiaries. The Medicaid contribution will max out at the Medicaid rate. This letter makes these changes retroactive to January 1, 2014. There is a long list of those who are exempt from this cut including physicians, optometrists, dentists, nurses, but not psychologists. This cut will have severe consequences on psychological assessments and services being offered to those with Medicare-Medicaid insurance coverage.” We seek to correct the omission of psychologists from the list of professions that are exempt from this cut.
I’ve had my head down buried in spreadsheets, working on our biennial budget (14-15 and 15-16). The Finance Committee and Executive Committee met to review a draft budget and this will go to the OPA Board for approval in June. We started this process in early April and each staff person worked up budgets for their areas. These were consolidated and expenses were tracked against our strategic plan and other goals set by the Board. I am pleased at the focus of our plan and programs for the next two years. We will be working harder on marketing psychology and developing new income streams for our members and for the association. One area of emphasis is the development of more resources for OPA members as health care reform and integrated care continues to evolve.
OPA’s Early Career Psychologist Committee has established a Social Media Task Force. Eric Sullivan is chairing this effort to make more effective use of social media to communicate more directly with early career psychologists on the issues they are interested in. Eric has put together a knowledgeable team to work on this project.
The work of our Governance Task Force is winding down. Following our April Board meeting the task force was able to develop a short list of principles to guide our efforts to restructure OPA’s Governance Structure. These will be considered by the Board in June and we are asking for Board approval. They include:
If approved, a work group will continue the process toward restructuring OPA based on these principles.
Along these lines, OPA’s annual Leadership Forum will focus on “Leadership in a Time of Change.” We welcome member participation in this forum, which is designed to help build leadership skills and comfort with leadership roles. The 2014 Leadership Forum will be on Saturday, July 19 in Columbus starting at 10 a.m. More details will be announced soon. Contact me if you are interested in participating.
Even as we assess our structure we have a number of key OPA Committees that seek more member involvement: Membership, Education, Science, Early Career, Professional Practice, Insurance and Marketing. Information about the roles of committees is posted on the OPA website. Contact me with questions or if you are interested in discussing opportunities. Join us for the Leadership Forum to learn about leadership in OPA.
Contact me if you are planning on attending or presenting at the APA Convention in Washington, D.C. in August.