In The News

Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Invitation

Beginning Monday, September 16, the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity invites APA boards and committees to review and provide comments on the following revised policy resolutions by Tuesday, October 15.  They are located at http://apaoutside.apa.org/PubIntCss/Public/ 

  • Resolution on Supporting Sexual/Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents in Schools 
  • Resolution on Opposing Discriminatory Laws, Policies, and Practices Aimed at LGBTQ+ Persons
  • Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity (SOGI), Parents and their Children
 

Proposed Rule Offers Better Medicare Reimbursement for Psychologists

Posted: September 2, 2019

Practicing psychologists who help Medicare patients cope with or manage a physical health condition should see an increase in their 2020 payments for these services when billing health and behavior assessment and intervention (H&B) CPT codes.

In a proposal released July 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated that the agency has accepted recommendations presented by APA Services to increase the relative value units (RVUs) for H&B services. The proposal would raise reimbursement rates for H&B services to a level that is comparable to payments for psychotherapy services.

This rate increase and other proposed payment policy and billing changes for health care services are included in the agency’s 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule.

In addition to increased values for H&B services, CMS has proposed: 

  • Replacing the existing CPT® codes (96150-96155) for H&B services with new codes and updated descriptors.
  • Using a single, nontimed code to report H&B assessment (similar to CPT code 90791; Psychiatric diagnostic evaluation).
  • Making structural changes to codes that describe the primary or base service, and add-on codes to describe additional work and time beyond the primary/base service.
  • Increasing the units of time for reporting the base codes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

CMS will announce final changes to 2020 values and CPT codes when it releases the physician fee schedule final rule in November. Implementation of the new codes and values will begin Jan. 1, 2020.

Read More
 

APA Fellows Committee Call for Nominations 

Posted: September 2, 2019 

 The APA Fellows Committee seeks nominations for two new members for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2020. The Fellows Committee is charged with the review of nominations for APA Fellows and will report their recommendations on each nomination to the Board of Directors through the Membership Board. The Fellows Committee reports to the APA Council through the Membership Board. 

Nominees to the Fellows Committee must be available to meet once annually, for two days at the APA Annual Convention, and virtually several times a year during their term on the committee. Nominees must have a computer that will allow for conducting work virtually to review Fellow applications and participating in teleconferences. Expenses for the annual meeting (transportation and 2 hotel nights) will be covered or reimbursed by APA. 

Members of the committee must be APA Fellows, shall not serve on a Division Fellows Committee, nor endorse initial APA Fellow candidates, during their term on the Fellows Committee. 

The Fellows Committee is seeking nominees from the following area: 

Slate 1: Applied, Policy, or Advocacy (ex. I&O, Clinical) 

Slate 2: Multicultural and Diversity 

The Fellows Committee strongly encourages applications from fellows in science, academia, and those with racial or ethnic minority identities. 

APA is engaged in a process of transformation, placing a much greater emphasis on making an impact that clearly benefits society and improves lives. In February 2019, the Council of Representatives adopted a new strategic plan that sets APA’s organizational priorities for the next three to five years. Going forward, boards and committees will work in an integrated, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary manner since no single board or committee can achieve any of the plan’s objectives on their own. Given the importance of this approach to the Association’s strategic priorities, APA encourages nominees to Fellows Committee to review the strategic plan to become familiar with the larger context in which their expertise and interests will contribute to APA’s success. 

Nominations must be submitted in a single document to include a statement of interest and a current vita. Self-nominations are welcome. Send nominations and supporting material to Sonja Wiggins, Fellows Committee Liaison, at [email protected]. The deadline for receipt of all nominations is September 10, 2019. 

 

One APA: United for Advocacy Webinar

Posted: August 29, 2019

Colleagues,

Please join us for a free online 1 hour CE webinar One APA:  United for Advocacy. 

This webinar will occur on Monday, September 9th at 6pm EDT/5pm CDT/4pm MDT/3pm PDT

The webinar features a panel discussion led by Dr. Jennifer F. Kelly and featuring Sharon Berry, PhD, ABPP, Kurt F. Geisinger, PhD, Amber Hewitt, PhD, Katherine Nordal, PhD, and Gregory Pennington, PhD. 

The panel will discuss the new transition to integrated advocacy in APA.   

Please email [email protected] to register and receive webinar link. 

Thank you to the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology and Dr Kim Gorgens for coordinating CEs for the webinars in this series!

 

HB 1120 Effective Now - Age 12 Minor Consent 

During the 2019 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB19-1120: Youth Mental Health Education and Suicide Prevention. The new law changes the practice requirements for all licensed mental health professionals in the state of Colorado. 

The law allows a licensed mental health professional to provide outpatient psychotherapy services to a minor who is 12 or older without the consent of the minors parent or legal guardian if the mental health professional determines that:

  • The minor is knowingly and voluntarily seeking such services;
  • The provision of psychotherapy services in clinically indicated and necessary to the minor’s well-being 

To reiterate, inpatient treatment is not covered under the provisions of the new law.

The law also included several directives as it relates to parental notification. These provisions include:

  • A licensed mental health professional may notify the minor’s parents or legal guardian of the psychotherapy services given or needed, with the minor’s consent, unless notifying the parent or legal guardian would be inappropriate or detrimental to the minor’s care and treatment.
  • A licensed mental health professional must speak with the minor about the importance of involving and notifying.
  • A licensed mental health professionals also have the authority to notify the minor’s parent or legal guardian of the psychotherapy services given or needed, without the minor’s consent, if in the professionals opinion of the professional, the minor is unable to manage their care of treatment.

 Licensed mental health professionals serving those between 12-14 and must also perform certain documentation requirements. Specifically, a licensed mental health professional must:

  • Fully document when the licensed mental health professional attempts to contact or notify the minor’s parent or legal guardian, and whether the attempt was successful or unsuccessful, or the reason why, in the mental health professionals opinions, it would be inappropriate to contact or notify the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
  • The documentation must be included in the minor’s clinical record, along with a written statement signed by the minor indicating that the minor is voluntarily seeking psychotherapy services. 

In addition, there was a specific requirement that psychotherapy services must be provided in a culturally appropriate manner. The overall provision of the services must be culturally appropriate and provided in a manner and format to support individuals with limited English proficiency or challenges with accessibility related to a disability and with respect for diverse background, including individuals with different cultural origins and individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The current duty to warn for mental health professionals applies when a minor communicates a threat or intent to harm themselves or others. The duty to warn is expanded to require the licensed mental health professional to notify the minor’s parent or legal guardian if the minor communicates an intent to commit suicide.  

 To be clear, the new law allows, but does not require, a minor 12 or older to consent to treatment. If a minor presents for treatment with their parents or legal guardians and the parents or legal guardians consent to the treatment than a licensed mental health professional does not have to require the 12 year old to sign the paperwork. These new provisions only apply to minors who are consenting to treatment without the consent of their parents or legal guardians.

Here is a link to the final language of the bill which outlines the requirements listed above in detail - https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2019a_1120_signed.pdf

 There are still lots of unknowns about how this new law will work in practice but CPA is in close communications with the other licensed mental health providers as well as the Department of Regulatory Agencies. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to send our way and we will work with our partners to answer to the best of our ability.

 
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