The October 2012 issue of New England Psychologist reported on the passage of “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation,” legislation largely due to the joint advocacy of the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society (MNS) and the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA). The groups’ unified front not only served as a driving force in passing this bill, but has also become a prime example of professional cooperation.
According to Michelle L. Imber, Ph.D., ABPP, a private practitioner in Boston and consultant for disability determination services, MNS and MPA have cooperated on issues for the last few years. She indicates that psychology disciplines sometimes work at odds due, in part, to a dearth of resources. “Everyone brings different expertise and resources to the table. Making sure we sit down is immensely useful in moving us forward,” she says. “With input from the APAPO (American Psychological Association Practice Organization) we are finding better use of their resources. We have found groups already working together. There are positive national ramifications. We hope others take a cue and find common ground.”
Joel Rosenbaum, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist at Quincy Medical Center, clinical psychiatry instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine and psychiatry lecturer at Boston University School of Medicine, has been at the forefront of collaborative efforts in his role as past president of MNS and past member-at-large of MPA’s board of directors.
“We benefit psychologists, the profession as a whole, and the patients we serve because our advocacy is directly focused on the patient and not upon guild concerns. In most cases, we have discovered that what is good for our patients is good for our profession as well,” says Rosenbaum. “Success is most likely when we agree to address issues such as access to care, transparency around criteria utilized by insurance companies to provide those levels of care, etc.”
According to Rosenbaum, both MNS and MPA have focused on achieving effective outcomes and give credit to each organization for working together toward common goals. “Both groups recognize also that there is a critical and active interplay between federal and state practice and policy, and have sought guidance from, while providing critical information to, national associations,” he says.
Rosenbaum encourages other groups to focus on what is best for the patient. “We need to recognize that our goal is to take care of people in the manner our profession requires and we need to structure our advocacy within this framework, addressing obstacles to our providing such care.”
According to Imber, Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) is launching a Federal Advocacy Network, an infrastructure intended to connect, mobilize and facilitate communication among advocates in the states.
By Phyllis Hanlon