FROM THE CEO
As our nation strives to expand access to health care, improve health
outcomes and reduce costs under the Affordable Care Act, psychologists have
increasingly important roles to play. Through our research, education and
training, and our clinical work focused on integrated health care, we can help
reduce health disparities and decrease the incidence of such major health
problems as obesity, heart disease, cancer and substance use.
As part of our effort to broaden opportunities for
psychologists in the evolving health-care system, last year APA
launched its Center for Psychology and Health to coordinate
efforts across the association on a key goal of APA’s strategic
plan — to expand psychology’s role in advancing health.
Over the past year, with valuable input from APA’s
directorates, divisions and other partners, we’ve focused our
efforts in four main areas:
• Education and training to expand opportunities for
graduate education and professional development.
• Advocacy to urge policymakers to increase access to care
and reimbursement rates through the work of the APA Practice
Organization (APAPO), among other issues.
• Public education and outreach highlighting psychology’s
critical importance to health care.
• Member communications to keep you informed of our
efforts and aware of opportunities to get involved.
So far, we’ve made significant progress on these goals.
Specific highlights include:
• Launching the center’s website ( www.apa.org/health/
index.aspx) as a resource for psychologists and the public on
the vital contributions psychology as the science of behavior
makes to health care. The site includes information on training
opportunities for psychologists who want to work in integrated
care, such as a directory of doctoral programs, internships and
postdocs. It also includes a list of health psychology CE programs,
links for those who want to learn more about and get involved in
state-level health-care reform implementation, and ready access to
health-related APA journal articles and other publications.
• With the much appreciated contributions of APA’s
Interdivisional Healthcare Committee, producing a series of
briefing sheets and related products (such as Q&A documents
and podcasts) for health professionals, policymakers and the
public, to increase these key constituencies’ understanding of
how psychological interventions can promote health. Briefing
sheet topics include the role of psychology in integrated
health care and primary care, as well as in treating such health
conditions as chronic pain, obesity, cancer and heart disease.
Eight additional briefing sheets will soon be posted, with more
planned for the coming year.
• With the APAPO, working with the American Medical
Association and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services to revalue psychotherapy services, resulting in an
8 percent increase to the total Medicare payments allotted
for psychologists’ services this year. This is the first such
increase in nearly a decade. This essential advocacy work will
continue under the auspices of the center’s Office of Health
Care Financing, which aims to ensure that psychologists are
included and fairly compensated for their services, including
those provided as part of integrated primary-care health teams.
And the APAPO is also working to remove barriers to integrated
care, such as state corporate practice of medicine laws that
prevent psychologist-physician partnerships.
• Developing strategic partnerships within and outside
APA, including with key APA divisions such as Div. 38 (Health)
and the Interdivisional Healthcare Committee, as well as
with outside organizations, such as the Society of Behavioral
Medicine. APA staff who support the work of the center also
serve on the executive committee of the Patient Centered
Primary Care Collaborative, a national coalition advocating
for integrated care through the patient-centered medical home
model. These alliances will help us raise psychologists’ visibility
in the health care system and increase opportunities for
psychologists in integrated care.
We invite you to follow our work on the center’s website and
expand your professional horizons to assume new roles in our
new, emerging health-care system. n
Expanding psychology’s role
in advancing health
BY DR. NORMAN B. ANDERSON • APA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER