Practice PERSPECTIVE ON
State leadership in health-care reform
BY DR. KATHERINE C. NORDAL • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
By 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will bring health
insurance to 32 million previously uninsured Americans by expanding
Medicaid and establishing state-based health plan exchanges for the
individual and small group markets. More than half of current Medicaid
beneficiaries with disabilities have a mental illness, and when mental illness
is experienced along with other common chronic physical
disorders, health-care costs escalate by about 75 percent.
Integrated Behavioral Health Task Force has been meeting
with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team to
support integration of behavioral health services in patient-centered medical home and accountable care organization
• The North Carolina Psychological Association has a member
on the state’s subcommittee charged with working on health-care reform. The association is also active in legislative efforts that
would protect patient information in the state’s proposed health
information exchange, and it is working to ensure psychology’s
participation in developing integrated care models.
• Well-attended health-care summits in Maryland,
Massachusetts and New York have brought together
psychologists, health-care and economics experts, policymakers,
representatives of other health-care professions and consumer
groups to talk about how to ensure that behavioral health-care
issues are included in their states’ health-care reform efforts.
The state associations will continue their work on March
10, when nearly 500 practice leaders will gather in Washington,
D.C., for our 29th State Leadership Conference (SLC), themed
“Bringing Psychology to the Table: State Leadership in Health
Care Reform.” This year, with the work of health-care reform
implementation before us, our programming is focused on
strategies for educating our members about the issues, psychologists’ roles in the evolving health-care system and opportunities where state-level advocacy can make the most difference.
Our emphasis on collaboration, involvement in coalitions
and building key relationships with regulators and decision-makers is not new. We have been training psychology’s future
leaders for this kind of advocacy for well over a quarter of a
century. Our work together at this year’s SLC will set the stage
for our joint advocacy efforts with our state associations for the
next several years.
As always, I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. n