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Advocating for our Masters- and Doctorate-Level Psychologists in Washington

During the 2018 APA Practice Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., Lynda Marshall (VPA Executive Director) and Dr. Rick Barnett (VPA Legislative Advocacy Chair) met with staff from the offices of Senators Leahy and Sanders to discuss issues related to psychology and mental health care. 

1.  They asked Senator Sanders to co-sponsor a pending bill that would add doctorate-level psychologists to the definition of "physician" under Medicare.  Senator Leahy is already a co-sponsor of this bill.  See more details here.

2.  They asked both Senators to oppose any funding cuts for Medicaid.

3.  They asked both Senators to introduce legislation that would allow psychologist-masters and LCMHCs to receive reimbursement for services under Medicare.  LICSWs can receive reimbursement, but no other masters-level therapists are able to receive reimbursement.  This cuts in half the number of masters-level therapists to which Vermonters on Medicaid have access.

4.  Finally, they discussed issues with the staff issues about the significant reductions in TriCare reimbursement and significantly higher copays for patients, which is unacceptable. 

Our legislative advocacy continues to make progress with legislation allowing prescriptive authority for psychologists with advanced training.  The new Senate Bill, S.208, now has 4 sponsors.  VPA will distribute key facts and talking points to use when you connect with legislators, other health providers, and all Vermonters interested in this initiative.  We have support from several key groups,  like the Office of Professional Regulation, the Vermont Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and a number of primary care providers.  We also have confirmed opposition from the Vermont Psychiatric Association and the Vermont Medical Society.  Access to, quality of, and cost of appropriate mental health care are at stake here, and we ask members to share personal stories of why they believe this initiative is vital with their local legislators.  Contact VPA or Dr. Rick Barnett, Legislative Chair, any time for more information.  We need your help to get this important legislation passed!

Advanced-Trained Doctoral-Level Psychologist Prescribing (RxP)  S.208, Referred to Senate Committee on Health & Welfare

Advanced-Trained Doctoral-Level Psychologist Prescribing (RxP)   H.280, Referred to House Committee on Health Care

Psychological Abuse as Basis for Relief from Abuse H.175, referred to Judiciary Committee

Central Intake System for Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse  H.848, Referred to Committee on Human Services

Systemic Improvements to Mental Health System S.203, Referred currently to Committee on Appropriations

Legislative  Advocacy

Recent & Pending Legislation

Did you know?  The APA Practice Organization's PAC is the only federal political action committee speaking for psychologists.

Get more information about APA's support for  prescription privileges for  psychologists (doctorate level) with advance degrees.

The "LifeBOAT" bill would impose a $.01 tax per milligram of  prescription pain medications when they are sold.  The proceeds, according to the sponsors, wojld be used to support opioid adddiction treatment. 

Should VPA support this legislation?

Approved in February 2015 by the ASPPB Board of Directors, the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) has been created to facilitate telehealth and temporary in-person, face-to-face practice of psychology across jurisdictional boundaries.  PSYPACT is an interstate compact, which is an agreement between states to enact legislation and enter into a contract for a specific, limited purpose or address a particular policy issue.  Click here for more details.

Should VPA support this legislation?

RxP Update

VPA advocates for legislation that promotes psychology and improved mental health care in both the Vermont legislature and in the federal House and Senate.

You can be a part of our legislative advocacy activity! Contact us to find out how you can help shape the future of psychology and mental health care in Vermont and across the country!