Two Very Important Votes
By Linda Knauss, PhD, ABPP
Div. 31 has been busy. We want every Div. 31 member and every APA member to vote in favor of the APA bylaws amendment that will be mailed on Nov. 1, 2017. This is a very important vote. It will ensure that every SPTA will have a vote on the APA Council of Representatives. Many people think this is already the case, but as the U.S. Virgin Islands found out after the last apportionment vote, it is not. In 2018, the Virgin Islands will no longer have a seat on the Council of Representatives. While the current rules have functioned to give every SPTA a seat on council and some SPTA's more than one seat on Council for many years, it did not ensure that every SPTA would have a seat.
In February 2017, Council passed a motion (by a large margin) to adapt the APA bylaws to ensure that each SPTA and division will be guaranteed a seat on the Council in the future. Our Div. 31 representative had a major role in this initiative. Now the membership must vote to approve the bylaws change, and this must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the membership. This bylaws amendment vote will be held at the same time as the upcoming annual apportionment ballot. This is the second very important vote. Until the most recent apportionment ballot, several states had more than one representative on council. However, in 2018, because SPTAs as a whole did not get enough apportionment votes, not only did the Virgin Islands lose their vote, but no state will have more than one representative. Thus, even if the bylaws vote is passed, it is very important for every APA member to give their 10 votes to their SPTA. Even if your SPTA does not get another seat, if SPTAs as a whole have more votes, they will be a stronger voice for SPTA issues.
The Div. 31 Board of Directors (with the support of the Div. 39 and Div. 42 Boards of Directors) sent a letter to the APA leadership sharing our concerns related to the Minority Fellowship Program's Summit on Master's Training in Psychological Practice and the recommendations included in the summit report. The report has not been reviewed or vetted by APA governance groups or the APAPO, nor has it been endorsed by the Council of Representatives as association policy. The membership has not had an opportunity to review or comment on the report. Given the interest in master's education and credentialing that exists within our association our letter recommended that APA undertake a comprehensive and thoughtful consideration of the issue, including input from all interested constituencies within the APA and consideration of the professional guild issues that are the responsibility of the APAPO. The report of the Minority Fellowship Program Summit is appropriately only one document in this process. In addressing this issue, the entire APA community needs to determine the issues that need to be addressed, and we need to work together to resolve them. Our letter concluded that we should start with the question “what does APA need to consider” not “should APA endorse the MA-level practitioner in psychology.”
Finally, SPTAs can have a major role in APA's plan to train more than 6,000 psychologists to work in and with primary and specialty health care practices over the next three years. Starting July 15, psychologists will be able to enroll in a new program developed by APA that will prepare them to work in integrated health care settings. As part of this program, free training is provided through APA's Integrated Health Care Alliance (IHCA). The IHCA program is funded through a cooperative agreement between APA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Last year CMS awarded APA $2 million to launch and develop IHCA. The funding was provided through a CMS program called Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) and Support and Alignment Networks (SAN). Through this initiative, APA is serving as a SAN by providing a system for educating clinicians, and as a Practice Transformation Network (PTN) by helping multiple health care practices move toward integrated care. CMS is aiming to prepare health care practices for participating in alternative payment models, reduce the total cost of health care and improve the patients' quality of care. The training provided through APA's IHCA enables practicing psychologists to be part of that movement. Psychologists who successfully complete two training courses—an introductory course on integrated care and a second course on the business aspects of integration—will receive eight hours of continuing education credit and be connected to a network of other integrated care practices. Interested APA members can register online now to receive access to the free online training and ongoing technical support once it becomes available in July.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the APA Annual Convention in August in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, please visit the Div. 31 website for updated information, read our blogs, discuss concerns on the list serve and follow us on Twitter.