APA directorate updates

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Updates from the Public Interest Directorate

For more information, contact Tina Wolridge.

CDC-funded APA initiative to create safe, supportive school environments

APA’s Safe and Supportive Schools Project (SSSP) is a five-year $1 million cooperative agreement between APA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC/DASH) that began Aug. 1, 2013. The purpose of the funding it to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach for preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents. SSSP will help state education agencies increase their capacity to support selected school districts in establishing safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff and one group of youth at disproportionate risk including: homeless youth, youth in alternative schools and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. SSSP is housed in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Office within the Public Interest Directorate. Contact SSSP. 

Updates from the Practice Directorate

For more information, contact Heather Ovelmen.

The 2014 Medicare final fee schedule released in late November contained an 8 percent increase in the total payment pool allocated for Medicare psychological services — the second highest payment increase among specialty groups in 2014. APA and the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) have been extensively involved in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) five-year review that helped yield the positive outcome. Despite the positive news, there is a complicated pattern of fee increases and decreases, resulting in a mixed bag for individual psychologists depending on the services for which they bill.

On Nov. 12, 2013, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the Behavioral Health Information Technology Coordination Act (S. 1685) to ensure mental health providers are part of the nation’s electronic medical records network. Making psychologists eligible for HITECH incentive payments continues to be a legislative priority for APAPO, and this is the third bill in Congress that furthers this goal.

On Nov. 8, 2013, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury released the Final Rule implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 13. The APA Practice Organization conducted a preliminary overview of the Final Rule. Our initial assessment is that the Final Rule clarifies and strengthens some important parity protections for mental health patients.

The APA Practice Directorate expanded its psychotherapy awareness initiative with the release of a new animated video, “Psychotherapy: Friends Helping Friends.” The video has been viewed more than 57,000 times as of late December, bringing the total views for the three videos in the psychotherapy awareness series to more than 100,000.

Updates from the Science Directorate

For more information, contact Kirk Waldroff.

Updates from the Education Directorate

For more information, contact Hunter Clary.

New project funded by the American Psychological Foundation — A Coalition for the Psychology of High Performance 

A large component of APA’s mission is applied to improving the health and well-being of people in our communities, nation and the world. The science of psychology also contributes to a knowledge base and practice associated with enhancing people’s capabilities at expression, learning, strategic thinking, as well as artistic and athletic prowess — beyond the norms we have asked ourselves to meet. Psychological science can be a useful tool in understanding more fully what it takes to make extraordinary accomplishments, and in translating what we can learn from the study of great performance that may be applied more widely to improve the human condition. 

People who make outstanding contributions in any field commit time and resources to meeting this goal. Currently, no forum exists to bring together the varied psychological traditions for cooperative endeavors that can lead to scholarship, products or practices to be applied to adolescents’ development. With support from APA Divs. 7 (Developmental), 10 (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts), 14 (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology), 16 (School) and 47 (Exercise and Sport), the proposed Coalition for the Psychology of High Performance will focus on:

  • How is high performance in youth manifested, studied, measured and discussed in academic and professional psychology?
  • How does psychology contribute to high performance?
  • What are the generalizable psychological principles that can be applied across domains?

Other news from the Education Directorate includes: