Spring 2016: Volume 72, Number 1
Cindy Chen, Psy.D
You know that the 2016 election cycle will amplify the extremely important state races during the frenzy of the presidential race. United Psychologists Political Action Committee, known as UP PAC provides our psychologists grassroots access to those politicians running in the state races. Let us tell you why being involved in the state legislative races are so important for us.
There are 49 legislative districts in Washington State, each elects two representatives and one senator. That adds up to 147 state legislators whose responsibility is to regulate the practice of health care in our state. The majority of legislators know nothing about the practice of psychology. This is not a criticism. Legislators must consider bills on subjects ranging from fish habitat to waste disposal. Those legislators who do sit on the House and Senate health committees do know more about our profession, but all legislators rely on us to educate them as to why they should or should not support bills changing our disciplinary laws, insurance regulation, and of course our psychology licensing law.
So how do we educate legislators and candidates for state office? Simply put: WE TALK TO THEM!
Our DPA, Dr. Lucy Homans, receives more questions and complaints about insurance company problems – from reimbursements to administrative incompetence – than any other concern. How many of us can raise your hand right now and say with confidence that one of your three state legislators, or indeed any of the 147 legislators, know about these problems or the significant negative effect the problems have on your career as practicing psychologists in their districts?
During the 2016 Legislative session alone, WSPA has helped to pass bills that affect your practice, including required reimbursement by insurers for telehealth services, transparency requirements for insurers when coverage for health care has been denied, and increased access to mental health care.How can you help to make a difference?
Every election year, the UP PAC counts on all of us to contribute to the PAC. We ask that each psychologist donate at least the equivalent of one hour of clinical time to the PAC. By this we do not mean one hour of Medicaid reimbursement ($48). We mean one hour of what your time is worth to you. If you would like to see Medicaid reimbursement levels increased, if you would like to see additional regulation of insurers’ ability to manipulate CPT codes, and if you would like to see better regulation of the chronic problems of insurers, please donate.
STEP UP, PSYCHOLOGISTS! Here are two easy ways to donate:
Make check payable to United Psychologists PAC or UPPAC and mail it to:
Washington State Psychological Association
9 S. Washington, Suite 201
Spokane, WA 99201
Go to the WSPA website and click on the DONATIONS link on the dark blue navigation bar, and select UPPAC Donate Online.
Cindy Chen, Psy.D, – UP PAC Chair
Andy Benjamin, JD, PhD – Grassroots Chair