Psychology Workforce Development Provisions Health Care Reform Law

April 2010

Education GRO was instrumental in the inclusion of the psychology workforce development provisions listed below that were included in the historic health care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23. The package of amendments, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), signed into law on March 30, did not add or take away from these provisions.

Psychology Workforce Development Provisions

  • Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training GrantsAuthorizes training grants to accredited master’s, doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral residency programs of psychology for the development and implementation of interdisciplinary training of psychology graduate students for providing behavioral and mental health services (with a set-aside of not less than $10 million for doctoral, postdoctoral, and internship level training).  Priority will be given to institutions with a training focus on the needs of vulnerable groups, such as children, older adults, individuals with mental health or substance use disorders, homeless or chronically ill persons, victims of abuse or trauma, and finally, persons with combat stress disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, as well as their families.

  • Definition of Graduate PsychologyRefers to an "accredited program in professional psychology."

  • Definition of Mental Heath Service ProfessionalIncludes an individual with a graduate or post-graduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education in psychology.

  • Investment In Tomorrow's Pediatric Health Care WorkforceAuthorizes a loan repayment program for qualified health professionals (including psychologists) who agree to be employed full-time for no less than two years providing pediatric care (including mental and behavioral health care). Priority will be given to those who have familiarity with evidence-based methods and cultural and linguistic competent health care services.

  • Geriatric Education and Training

1. Expands Eligibility for Geriatric Academic Career Awards to a variety of new disciplines, including faculty in psychology.

2. Authorizes a new Geriatric Career Incentive Awards Program to provide financial support to foster greater interest among a variety of health professionals in entering the field of geriatrics, including students of psychology.

3. Expands Authority for Geriatric Education Centers to offer short-term intensive courses (a “fellowship”) in geriatrics for faculty members in medical schools and other health professions schools with programs in psychology or other health disciplines.  The fellowship may be offered at graduate programs in psychology.  Geriatric Education Centers receiving these grants are required to develop and offer training courses to family caregivers and direct care providers at no charge or minimal cost or incorporate mental health and dementia “best practices” training into their courses.

  • National Health Care Workforce CommissionEstablishes a National Health Care Workforce Commission to serve as a national resource that develops and commissions evaluations of education and training activities to determine whether the demand for health care workers is being met.  The commission is to include at least one representative of the health care workforce and health professionals (including psychologists and other behavioral, mental health, and substance abuse providers).  The commission is to: 1) review current and projected health care workforce supply and demand; 2) make recommendations to Congress and the Administration concerning national health care workforce priorities, goals, and policies; 3) submit a yearly report to Congress and the Administration containing the results of such reviews and recommendations; and 4) submit a yearly report to Congress and the Administration on, at a minimum, one high priority area.  High priority areas include: integrated health care workforce planning; an analysis of the nature, scope of practice, and demand for health care workers in the enhanced information technology and management workplace; and the education and training capacity, projected demands, and integration with the health care delivery system of the mental and behavioral health care workforce.

  • Health Care Workforce AssessmentEstablishes a National Center for Health Workforce Analysis to, in coordination with the National Health Care Workforce Commission, provide for the development of information that describes and analyzes the health care workforce.

  • U.S. Public Health Sciences TrackEstablishes a “track” to grant appropriate advanced degrees and graduate at least 100 behavioral and mental health professional students annually.