2018 WVPA Government Relations Team
WVPA members can contact Dr. Denning with questions or comments about national policies of interest to psychologists and communications with West Virginia’s Congressional delegation. Members of the APA Practice Organization will receive regular updates from the APAPO Government Relations Team on items of interest to psychologists, including health care reform, budget items related to training and care, CMS reimbursement negotiations, and EHR subsidies. Consider joining APAPO to stay connected!
WVPA State Government Affairs Chair – Scott Fields, Ph.D.
The West Virginia Legislature has expanded information available through its Internet web-site (http://www.legis.state.wv.us/). E-mails may be sent to Senators and Delegates by looking within the website for individual legislators. You can also leave voice-mail messages for legislators or request copies of bills during the legislation session by calling 1-877-56-LEGIS (1-877-565-3447).
Under the excellent direction of the WVPA Government Relations Team, and in consultation with the WVPA Board of Directors, you will be kept informed on issues of interest during the 2018 legislative session.
2018 Advocacy Initiatives
Federal Level: Use Psychological Research to Inform Policy on Gun Violence
APA and WVPA are primed to share resources and amalgamate research on gun violence and policy. On March 2, 2018, WVPA signed on as an organizational supporter of the Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the USA, Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence.
In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, WVPA members have recommended the following resources for families:
Federal Level: Ensure health care reform efforts do not unduly harm patients and adequately provide for behavioral health needs
- Doctoral level psychologists may participate in community interdisciplinary, interprofessional health teams that promote primary care practices. Through this Health and Human Services (HHS) grant program, these health teams will support primary care providers and patient-centered medical homes.
- Doctoral level Psychologists may be part of consortia of health providers who deliver comprehensive and integrated care services for low-income populations. This HHS grant program will seek in particular those consortia with networks to provide the broadest range of services to low-income individuals.
- Doctoral level Psychologists may fully participate in health homes as part of health teams or designated providers of health home services in a new state option under Medicaid to provide services to individuals who have at least two chronic conditions, one chronic condition and are at risk of having a second, or one serious and persistent mental health condition.
- A new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program costs while preserving or enhancing quality of care furnished to individuals. Among the host of models that this new innovation center will test are: patient-centered medical homes; direct contracting with groups of providers to promote innovative delivery service models; geriatric plans to coordinate care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions, including cognitive impairment or dementia; community-based health teams to support small-practice medical homes to assist primary care practitioners in chronic care management; promoting access to outpatient services without physician referral where the provider (such as a psychologist) has authority to furnish such services under state law; and utilizing, particularly in entities located in underserved areas, telehealth services in treating behavioral health issues, for example, related to post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke.
- New Medicaid mental health mandated benefits and parity requirements. Mental health services must now be included as basic services in Medicaid benchmark equivalent plans provided by states to Medicaid beneficiaries.
- A national focus on prevention. The ACA establishes a National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council to develop a health strategy and a fund to provide for expanded and sustained investment in prevention and public health programs. Mental health and substance use services are included along with other health services in this new strategy.
State Level: Promote an independent Board of Examiners of Psychologists, as opposed to proposed initiatives to consolidate all behavioral health providers to one “Superboard”. WVPA believes that our current board structure is doing an exemplary job of fulfilling its mission and we would be opposed to major changes in our Board of Examiners of Psychologists structure. In December 2017, WVPA provided a list of potential replacement candidates for the WVBOEP, as some terms are nearing expiration. WVPA regularly collaborates with the WVBOEP to ensure excellent training opportunities for psychologists in line with licensure standards.
State Level: Create a climate for licensure in WV that is inviting for psychologists to choose to practice in our state. In 2016, WVPA successfully passed legislation supporting a more efficient licensure process for highly trained doctoral psychologists, without requiring a post-doctoral training year. We will continue to consider ways to promote WV to new psychologists. We will also work with legislators for sustainable clinical services reimbursement rates for psychologists in WV.
State Level: Support a legislative ban on Conversion Therapy for Youth. WVPA is partnering with Fairness WV to support SB 435, which prohibits mental health providers from engaging in, or referring a patient to, sexual orientation conversion therapy when such person is under eighteen years of age. Every major mental health group has recognized so called “conversion therapy” as baseless, lacking in scientific rigor and dangerous to the public. This bill would recognize that and protect the public from mental health professionals who try to engage in “sexual orientation change efforts” or conversion therapy with patients. Numerous APA resources support this ban as well; for further consideration, please see Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth and the Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts
State Level: Partner with State Leaders to Address the Opioid Abuse Crisis. In January 2018, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed plan for addressing the opioid abuse crisis in the Mountain state. During the time for public comment, WVPA provided feedback on the proposed plan on behalf of the Board of Directors and the WVPA Substance Use Disorder Taskforce: Opioid Response Plan_WVPA Comment. We will continue to collaborate with DHHR and legislators to craft an evidence-based plan of action. We are also providing an incredible training opportunity at our 2018 Spring Conference for all types of behavioral health providers to address Trauma and Substance Use Disorders. Look for registration details soon!
If members have interest in joining WVPA Advocacy efforts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.