Behalf ON YOUR
What APA is doing for you
n APAPO continues its work to protect
At press time, the American Psychological Association
Practice Organization (APAPO) was mobilizing
members to fend off significant cuts in Medicare
reimbursement to psychologists and other providers.
Following the passage of the Budget Control
Act, a joint committee was created to identify $1.2
trillion in further budget cuts. If the committee fails
to reach an agreement that can pass both chambers,
Medicare provider payments would be cut by up
to 2 percent in addition to the already pending
29. 5 percent sustainable growth rate (SGR) cut.
Psychologists could face a triple hit because the 5
percent psychotherapy payment restoration — which
psychologists have secured through several tough
fights since 2008 — is scheduled to expire at the end
of 2012 if Congress fails to act.
Further complicating the picture, the Medicare
Payment Advisory Committee, which was created
by Congress for its advice in this area, will soon
recommend replacing the SGR with an 18 percent cut
to psychologists and other providers over the next three
years followed by a payment freeze for seven more years.
In late September, APAPO testified before the
House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health
to urge representatives to back the psychotherapy
extender, which is also supported by the American
Medical Association. APAPO asserts that extending
psychologist payments is crucial to protecting
patients’ access to Medicare mental health services.
Dr. Jerry Suls asked federal legislators to invest in the nation’s
“psychological infrastructure” to ensure people are prepared to face
the challenges of natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
Psychologists and social workers provide almost
all of the Medicare psychotherapy and testing services, and
providers have indicated that they may have to reduce their
caseloads or leave Medicare if these cuts are enacted. The cost
of protecting mental health services is very low, increasing
costs by only $30 million per year.
APAPO has been urging members to press their
n U.S. needs more psychological preparation
The psychological damage caused by tornadoes and terrorist
attacks can outlast the harm done to buildings, bridges and
people’s physical health, according to psychologist Jerry Suls,
PhD, of the University of Iowa.
congressional representatives on the issue — even if they have
already done so. To contact your representative and get more
information on the risk to psychologists and their patients, go
to APAPO’s Legislative Action Center at http://capwiz.com/
Attending to the public’s mental health needs is nearly as
important as securing clean water and providing emergency
medical care, Suls told the standing-room-only crowd at a
Sept. 12 congressional briefing on disasters and public health.
“It’s easy to look at buildings that have been destroyed,” said