Monitor on Psychology - November 2011 - (Page 53)

practice PersPectIve on Under psychology’s watchful eye By Dr. kaThErINE c. NOrDal • ExEcuTIVE DIrEcTOr FOr PrOFESSIONal PracTIcE APA’s Practice Directorate pores daily over information about psychological practice, proposed regulations and legislation that can significantly affect psychological services and the patients we serve. A few recent examples: • Practice staff attorneys collaborated with the Texas Psychological Association (TPA) in a district court case. In 2010, the Texas Association of Psychological Associates, which represents licensed master’slevel psychological associates, filed a lawsuit seeking a legal declaration that the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists had no statutory authority to prevent licensed psychological associates from practicing independently because the licensing statute did not specifically require supervision. TPA argued that the state legislature clearly intended that the independent practice of psychology be limited to individuals trained at the doctoral level. In August, the judge agreed, affirming the statutory authority of the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to require that master’s-level trained psychological associates be supervised by licensed psychologists who, under Texas law must be trained at the doctoral level. (Read more about this case at advocacy/managed/doctoral-standard.aspx.) • In May, APA’s Practice Directorate alerted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about misinformation in their “Mental Health Services” publication, for example, that psychological and neuropsychological testing could be performed by clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives. As a result of our advocacy, the publication was removed from the CMS website to undergo review. CMS reposted the booklet in July with an errata sheet identifying “corrections or changes,” including most of APA’s requested revisions. (Read more at www.apapracticecentral. org/update/2011/06-23/cms-publication.aspx.) • As part of our advocacy to promote psychologists as key players in today’s health-care system, we wrote to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June to support the inclusion of psychologists as eligible participants in accountable care organizations, in which individual health-care providers, group providers and hospital systems come together to provide services to a defined population. • We cultivate relationships with and provide input into n ov e M b e r 2 0 1 1 • M o n i to r o n p s yc h o l o g y standards development for several accrediting organizations, including CARF (rehab centers and hospital facilities), the Joint Commission (health care organizations and programs) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) with the goal of promoting high quality mental health care. This year, we have submitted comments on eight proposed sets of standards and reviewed numerous others. Among our victories: gaining a stronger focus on behavioral health care in the NCQA’s patient centered medical home standards — including an expanded use of depression screening and substantially broadened language in its standards to include mental as well as physical health care. For example, the term “primary-care physicians” was replaced with “primary-care clinicians,” allowing psychologists to serve as primary-care clinicians when appropriate. • Practice legal staff are collaborating with the Massachusetts Psychological Association and Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society to confront changes in neuropsychological benefits management by Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Massachusetts that impede access to medically necessary care for subscribers. With the two other groups, we wrote a letter to the Massachusetts attorney general detailing how the company’s systematic denial of requests for medically necessary neuropsychological assessment harms consumers. We argued that while review criteria are meant as a benchmark or starting point for determining what level of assessment is necessary in light of the patient’s specific condition and needs, that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts uses the criteria inappropriately as absolute limits, regardless of the patient’s unique circumstances as communicated in the authorization request. (Read more at update/2011/05-26/neuropsychological-services.aspx.) I encourage you to alert us to any policies or practices in your state that could adversely impact patient care. As always, I welcome your comments at n 53

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - November 2011

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011
President’s Column
Guest Column
‘Grand Challenges’ offers blueprint for mental health research
Documentary seeks to reach parents of LGBT kids
Treating veterans will cost at least $5 billion by 2020
Selfless volunteering might lengthen your life
Combat and stress up among U.S. military in Afghanistan
South Africa to host international psychology conference
Study uncovers a reason behind sex differences in mental illness
Navy psychologist gives a voice to combat trauma
In Brief
Psychologist suicide
On Your Behalf
Journey back to Heart Mountain
Psychology is key to pain management, report finds
ACT goes international
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Time Capsule
Science Watch
Behavior change in 15-minute sessions?
Health-care reform 2.0
Perspective on Practice
Giving a heads up on concussion
Practice Profile
Searching for meaning
Inspiring young researchers
Aging, with grace
Public Interest
Thank you!
APA News
Division Spotlight
American Psychological Foundation
The man who gave Head Start a start

Monitor on Psychology - November 2011