FROM KATHERINE B. MCGUIRE, APA CHIEF ADVOCACY OFFICER
For the Week of December 15–20, 2019
In this issue:
Collaborating with the Office of National Drug Control Policy
APA met with leadership of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which expressed strong interest in working together to discuss ways to address the opioid overdose epidemic and improve Americans’ access to effective substance use disorder treatment. In the meeting, ONDCP Assistant Director Kemp Chester described the agency’s commitment to approaching the drug overdose epidemic as a public health issue in which substance use disorders are viewed as chronic diseases akin to diabetes. Successful treatment, he said, requires long-term services and supports to enable recovery and reduce, if not eliminate, relapses. APA and ONDCP discussed several key issues, including the need to increase the treatment workforce and expand patient access to providers qualified to prescribe medication-assisted treatment drugs; the importance of taking a “whole person” approach to treatment; the role of psychological pain management services in reducing exposure to prescription opioids; and treatment initiatives underway within the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
For more information, contact Scott Barstow, MS, at email@example.com.
Urging Congressional Leadership to Support Critical Health-Care Workforce Programs
In partnership with the CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers, APA CEO Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD, sent a letter to House and Senate Leaders urging them to pass long-term funding for community health centers and critical health-care workforce programs, such as the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program and the National Health Service Corps. The letter notes that from 2010 to 2016, community health centers were able to double their behavioral workforce and treat four times as many patients with opioid and substance use disorders, thanks to increased resources provided by Congress. In 2018 alone, 920 licensed clinical psychologists provided more than 1 million clinical visits in community health centers.
For more information, contact Katherine McGuire, MS, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading the Way on Deep Poverty
In honor of Dr. Rosie Phillips Davis’s yearlong term as APA president and her commitment to the issue of deep poverty, APA worked with congressional offices to introduce H.Res. 763, a House Resolution Expressing Support for the Development of a National Strategic Plan to End Deep Poverty on Thursday, Dec. 12. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.). Please consider contacting your House representative and asking them to support H.Res. 763.
For more information, contact Aaron Bishop at email@example.com.
Welcoming a New Senate Co-Sponsor on Medicare Physician Definition
The Medicare Mental Health Access Act (S.2772) received a big endorsement with the co-sponsorship of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Murkowski joins her Alaskan House college Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who co-sponsored the House version (H.R. 884). The legislation would eliminate Medicare’s requirement that clinical psychologists first obtain physician approval before seeing patients in certain settings. Their combined support underscores the importance of removing barriers to mental health care, especially in rural settings.
For more information, contact Laurel Stine, JD, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Scott Barstow, MS, at email@example.com.
YEAR-END UPDATE: CELEBRATING KEY WINS IN ANNUAL FUNDING LEGISLATION
APA works all year to secure federal funding for key federal research, education, workforce, health and childhood development programs. As of this writing, Congress is set to approve its final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations and send to President Trump for his signature before year’s end. Below are some of the key funding wins for psychology for 2019.
Increasing Federal Support for Psychology Workforce Development
APA secured substantial investments in several critical workforce training programs, as well as new programs that would support the education and training of health service psychologists. APA advocacy efforts resulted in:
Securing Commitments for New Gun Violence Prevention Research
In a historic move, Congress provided $25 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research to study the underlying causes and evidence-based methods of injury prevention. The funding—$12.5 million each to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—is the first time in over 20 years that Congress has dedicated money for gun violence prevention research. APA was active throughout 2019 in advocating for research funding for the CDC and NIH, including through a partnership with the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, which led a collaboration with a group of leading medical and public health groups.
For more information, contact Ben Vonachen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Craig Fisher at email@example.com.
Gaining Funds for Psychological Research
APA mobilized psychologists on Dec. 10 to urge their members of Congress to increase funding levels for federal research—and members’ advocacy made a difference:
Securing Funding for Suicide Prevention Efforts Across Agencies
Congress supported several important funding priorities in suicide prevention, including:
For more information, contact Heather Kelly, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Craig Fisher at email@example.com, Leo Rennie at firstname.lastname@example.org, Pat Kobor, MA, at email@example.com, or Angela Sharpe, MG, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expanding Access to Mental Health Services and Prevention Programs
Congress is also making new investments in mental health services across the lifespan:
Supporting Investments in K–12 and Higher Education Programs
Congress is also investing in critical education and mental health programs:
Helping to Secure Health Equity for Underserved and Vulnerable Populations
In this area, Congress is calling for:
For more information, contact Leo Rennie at email@example.com, Cynthia Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Serena Dávila at email@example.com.