Your New DPA and What We Are Watching

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I am so excited to be selected as the next Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) for the Washington State Psychological Association (WSPA). As you all know, Lucy’s shoes are quite big to fill. Instead of trying to fill them, my goal is to make this position my own as I am only the second DPA in WSPA history. I hope that you are willing to engage in this process with me as I can’t imagine doing this job without your support. Okay, let’s get started!
 
First, how to communicate with me – Email is definitely best. WSPA has created a special DPA email address: DPA@WSPApsych.org. I have emailed in the past with many of you as a colleague and as Federal Advocacy Coordinator, so you have other email addresses for me. For all DPA related email, please use the DPA email address. I appreciate you helping me keep my life organized.
 
Here is an outline of the issues we are currently watching and/or grappling with as of January 12, 2019:

  1. If you do psychological and/or neuropsychological testing, then you are likely aware of the new CPT codes for billing for testing services that went into effect on January 1. If you’ve not heard about the new codes, you can learn more here and here. I provide psychological testing, and I have not heard a peep out of any of the insurance companies in Washington State regarding fee schedules, authorizations that might be necessary for the new codes, or that they are ready to use the new codes at all. This is quite unusual in my opinion because when the psychotherapy codes changed 2013, there was a fair amount of communication. Due to the lack of communication, we have filed a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner asking them to request that written information about the appropriate use of the new CPT codes for psychological and neuropsychological testing be provided by every insurer operating in Washington State to all of their network providers immediately. 

    Related to these codes is the fee schedules. If you have billed the new codes, I need you to compare the amount you are reimbursed now versus if you had used the old codes. The new codes are supposed to come with an increase in reimbursement.

  2. Another issue that I was made aware of deals with under payments by an insurance company. Please watch your reimbursements closely!
  3. We are watching scope of practice issues – one involves applied behavior analysts and the other involves substance use disorder treatment. WSPA is actively involved in protecting the scope of practice for psychologists.
  4. Finally, there are a plethora of mental health-related bills in the legislature this year. We are actively watching bills as they are pre-filed. The legislative session starts on January 14th, and we will continue to monitor the progress of all the bills.  

I have some requests of you:

  1. If you I’ve been impacted by the new CPT testing codes for psychological and neuropsychological assessment, please email me with the details. I’m most curious to hear if any insurer communicated with you about their preparedness for the codes, as well as reimbursement for the new codes compared to the old codes.
  2. If anyone received an updated fee schedule in 2018 and then noticed that the insurance company was not paying per the new fee schedule, please let me know as soon as possible with as much detail as you are willing to provide.
  3. I want to know in what areas you are an expert. The DPA often relies on members to help them/her/him understand legislation or how an issue may impact our profession. I need to know who I can reach out to for what issues. Please email me with any and all specialties for which you consider yourself knowledgeable.
  4. How would you like me to connect with you? Do these emails suffice, or would other modes of communication work better? We are considering a couple of different options, and I’d like to hear from you any and all ideas for how the DPA can work for you no matter how far outside the box the idea is.  

That’s it for now. Again, the best way to reach me is to send an email to DPA@WSPApsych.org. I will do my best to keep you informed of all relevant issues.

Samantha Slaughter, PsyD – JOIN WSPA!
Director of Professional Affairs
Washington State Psychological Association