DPA Report: 2017 Practice Leadership Conference

Spring 2017: Volume 73, Number 1
Lucy Homans, Ed.D., Director of Professional Affairs

I like to read magazines in the checkout line at markets. This one piece of information tells you something about my age, what I like to read, and that I am probably a poor candidate for Amazon Go services. It’s not surprising, then, that the headline of the most recent edition of Atlantic (OK, betcha didn’t see that one coming) caught my eye: “Why Is Silicon Valley so Awful to Women?”

Indeed that was a very interesting article, and one that received more attention than the time I spent in the checkout line. But that is not why I bought this magazine. I bought it because of the article entitled “Why Your Therapist is Making You Worse.”

The crux of the article is the use – or not – of performance feedback, outcome research, or feedback informed treatment (aka “FIT.”) I must say, tooting my own horn, that this is one of the most creative segues to a discussion of the (newly named) annual APA Practice Leadership Conference that I attended in March. The theme of this year’s conference was “ Practice, Politics & Policy.” Five WSPA members – Samantha Slaughter, Sonia Venkatramen, Nancy Goldov, Claudia Antuka, myself – and Executive Director Marvo Reguindin attended on behalf of WSPA this year. We always divide up the workshops we attend to get as much information to report back to all of you as possible. I attended programs about financing group practices, the EPPP-2, and how treatment guidelines are developed at APA, this last of which led to conversations about feedback informed treatment.

By feedback informed treatment, I do not refer to the sorts of patient satisfaction forms that we all get these days from primary care physicians to dentists to optometrists – although patient satisfaction is one factor of feedback informed treatment. I refer to programs such as the OWLS program, under development by psychologists at the University of Washington and the program developed by Michael Lambert and others at Brigham Young University. WSPA has offered continuing education seminars about both of these programs in the past ten years. What I have learned at PLC not only this year but in past years as well is that as we moved towards more integration of behavioral healthcare with primary care, use of feedback informed treatment will increase. These programs are not perfect but for at-risk clients they can provide a reliable “early warning system” for symptom changes and increased risk of suicidal behavior. The article, which to which I referred, is in the April 2017 edition of Atlantic. Check it out (along with your groceries).

The program about financing practice focused on how psychology services are reimbursed within multi specialty group practices. This is a pretty complex subject which at the very least involves hiring attorneys and accountants with expertise in health care management. I do have the slides from the program and would be happy to discuss the subject further with interested WSPA members.

The EPPP-2 is the working name of the planned new version of the national licensing exam the purpose of which is to base licensure on validated key competencies needed to practice. ASPPB, the Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards, has been developing the EPPP-2 over the past decade with APA. Both ASPPB and APA believe that the new test is needed because of lack of standardization in graduate education, supervisor evaluations used as a part of most licensure requirements are not always accurate for licensure purposes, the profession has significantly improved our ability to assess competence, and because most other health professions already require competency exams as part of licensure.

Staff from ASPPB presented the program to the Washington State Examining Board of Psychology (EBOP) last year. The timeline defined at that time and at the CE program I attended at PLC includes beta testing in 2018 and an initial rollout of the new exam in 2019.  I also have the slides from this PLC program and would be happy to discuss EPPP-2 with interested WSPA members.

Left to right. Dr. Sonia Venkatraman, WSPA Board President; Marvo Reguindin, WSPA Executive Director; Dr. Samantha Slaughter, Fed. Advocacy Coordinator; Dr. Lucy Homans, Director of Professional Affairs.

No PLC would be complete without the final event: spending a day on Capitol Hill lobbying our Congressional Delegation about federal legislation of importance to psychology. I will leave the content of our advocacy work to Dr. Samantha Slaughter. Let me just say that I have been attending these events for over 20 years. Never once until this year have WSPA members been denied a meeting with a Congressional office. Sometimes we have met with the most recent unpaid interns in an office, but we have always been offered meetings. Until now. This year 3 of our 4 Republican Congresspersons did not even respond to our requests for a meeting. Kudos to Rep. Dave Reichert who was the one exception. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Dan Newhouse do not serve their constituents or our state when they refuse to see us.


If you have questions or comments for me about all of this information, please email them to me at lucy.homans@gmail.com. Thank you.