I am taking some time this morning to review my efforts in advocating for us on this issue. I have received or have become aware of a couple of other points of information I will be forwarding to APA to support them in their effort to assist us. As I review the posts here on this thread, I become appreciative of this passionate, robust conversation. It strikes me that, during moments like this, so many are moved to speak their truth about what we do as psychologists, and how we are often hampered in our efforts by entities and organizations who have little understanding of our work. At the same time, I want to encourage all of you to be willing to do more.
Dr. Lewis makes some excellent points about the value of psychologists, and the unique skills which set us apart as from other mental health professionals. Did you know that OPA has a Marketing Task Force? This small group has been meeting and working regularly for some time. Its job has been to develop marketing strategies to shape public perception of our unique strengths and skills as psychologists. As an association, our thinking is that if we can help the more general public understand the unique strengths and skills psychologists possess compared to other mental health professionals, it becomes more difficult for insurance companies to identify us as equivalent to other kinds of professionals on their panels. The Marketing Task Force meets once week via conference call and could use more members to help accomplish its purpose.
Did you know that OPA has an Insurance Committee? This committee's purpose is to tackle these very thorny difficulties which arise when insurance companies, whose actions so clearly affect all our lives, develop a new policy or procedure which reflects so little understanding of best practice within our profession and ultimately hampers our effectiveness. It is the committee's job to develop and implement strategies to respond to the problems and barriers created by these companies like the one under discussion here. This group meets once per month via conference call and would also benefit from more members who are energized to take some action.
My point here is that I am aware we are all very busy and often do not think about taking an action to tackle a problem until it touches our lives in a very obvious and painful way. However, from the larger perspective of our association, efforts to tackle these problems have been ongoing for some time. Change only becomes possible when we come together, and in OPA the work of coming together for collective action occurs in our committees. If anyone reading this post is interested in joining these ongoing efforts, please contact me.
Jim Broyles, Ph.D.
OPA Director of Professional Affairs
Medical Mutual Audit