projects as developing a list of factors to keep in mind when
designing ACOs that recognize behavioral health needs.
“The stakes are high if we don’t have a seat at the table,”
emphasizes Donna Rasin-Waters, PhD, president of the
New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA) and a
psychologist at the VA New York Harbor Health Care System in
When she attended a meeting on the ACO model, for
example, she was one of only two mental and behavioral
health practitioners represented. It soon became clear, she
reports, that many physician practices in New York not only
don’t have mental and behavioral health services integrated
into their practices but also don’t know what psychologists
have to offer.
To help get psychologists “on the train” of health-care
reform, Rasin-Waters convened a Think Tank on Psychology’s
Future in June to brainstorm and develop priorities for action.
As a result of those discussions, NYSPA decided to focus on
building partnerships with other statewide organizations and
making sure psychology is represented as the state develops
ACOs and its exchange program.
Other groups are helping psychologists see the opportunities
as well as the challenges that health-care reform represents.
“We’re hearing from a lot of people in the trenches that
they’re scared because they don’t know how this is going to
shape up,” says Nancy S. Molitor, PhD, president of APA’s
Div. 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice) and a private
practitioner in Wilmette, Ill. “On the other hand, this could
be exciting, and there could be some opportunities for
psychologists we don’t yet know.” Integrated care could mean
new opportunities for both employment and referrals, she
To help position practitioners to take advantage of such
opportunities, the division is offering continuing education and
other training on integrated care. An upcoming conference on
practice innovation will feature sessions on integrated care, for
Of course, ongoing attacks on the Affordable Care Act could
change everything if they prove successful. Most states are
charging ahead, even as more than half of them are challenging
the constitutionality of the law in the federal courts —
especially the mandate that everyone buy coverage.
“That’s going to be heard by the Supreme Court,” says
Nordal. “If the individual mandate is struck down, who knows
what the implications will be. That’s going to send people back
to the drawing board.” n
Rebecca A. Clay is a writer in Washington, D.C.
For more information about health-care reform
implementation activities at APA and APAPO, visit www.apa.
org/health-reform and http://www.apapracticecentral.org/
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