On Your Behalf

  • APA applauds release of national HIV/AIDS plan: APA voiced its strong support for President Barack Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first comprehensive national plan to address the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic since the first cases of AIDS were recognized nearly three decades ago. APA looks forward to partnering with the Obama administration to ensure that mental and behavioral health are prioritized through the strategy’s implementation. APA is calling upon the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to remain mindful of the importance of mental and behavioral health in preventing HIV transmission, improving health outcomes and eliminating HIV-related disparities that affect racial, ethnic and sexual minorities.

  • APA testifies on need to support behavioral research at the Defense Department: APA member Dan Putka, PhD, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on June 23, urging the Senate to reverse the Obama administration cuts to applied research programs within the department next year. Putka also called for continued support for behavioral research throughout DoD’s military labs, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and research centers focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. (In the video, Putka’s testimony begins at 52:09 and runs for four minutes.)

  • APA’s Nordal urges insurers not to cut back on reimbursement: APA’s Katherine Nordal, PhD, spoke about the effect of mental health parity on psychologists and other providers at a June conference that brought together insurers, consumers, care providers and employers to discuss parity legislation. Nordal, APA’s executive director for professional practice, emphasized the need for insurers not to cut back on reimbursement rates or to put more administrative burden on the mental health care providers. Also participating on the panel was APA member Benjamin Miller, PhD, of the University of Colorado, who spoke of parity as a stepping stone to improved mental health care and the need for integrated health-care systems.

  • Victory on sustainable growth rate: On June 25, President Obama signed the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 3962), postponing the 21.3 percent Sustainable Growth Rate cut in Medicare payments retroactive to June 1 and through Nov. 30. The new law also gives a 2.2 percent increase in Part B reimbursement for services delivered from June 1 through Nov. 30.

  • APA supports a bill that would help psychologists with health technology expenses: APA has joined a coalition of national mental health advocates to pass the Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act, H.R. 5040. The legislation creates a $15 million grant program for mental health and behavioral health professionals to implement health information technology in their practices. APA is a leader in the Mental Health Liaison Group, which has been lobbying for this legislation for months.

  • APA opposes a bill that would place redundant, unnecessary burden on psychologists: APA has co-signed the Patients Access to Responsible Care Alliance letter to congressional leadership opposing the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act, H.R. 5295. The legislation is intended to position physicians at a competitive advantage in relation to non-physician providers. As such, it requires that anyone who advertises health-care services must also advertise the nature of their licensure to provide those services.

  • APA recognized for work on homelessness: APA 2009 Past President James H. Bray, PhD, and the Task Force on Psychology’s Contribution to End Homelessness Chair Norweeta Milburn, PhD, were acknowledged in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The federal plan stresses the need to link health care with homelessness assistance programs and housing, including mental health and substance use services; increased access to housing and jobs; rapid response and return to housing for those without homes; and increased federal leadership, collaboration and civic engagement.

  • APA hails ruling that overturns Proposition 8, in which voters had taken away the right of same-sex couples to marry in California: Calling the ruling “a victory for both science and basic human dignity,” APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD, says the association is gratified that the court agreed that there is no justification for denying marriage equality to same-sex couples. “The research shows that same-sex couples are similar to heterosexual couples in essential ways and that they are as likely as opposite-sex couples to raise mentally healthy, well-adjusted children,” she says. “Thus, there is no scientific justification for denying marriage equality, when research indicates that marriage provides many important benefits.”

    APA has been a strong advocate for full equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for nearly 35 years, based on the social science research on sexual orientation. APA has supported legal benefits for same-sex couples since 1997 and civil marriage for same-sex couples since 2004. APA has adopted policy statements, lobbied Congress in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment, and filed amicus briefs supporting same-sex marriage in legal cases in California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York (three times), Oregon and Washington. In California, the APA brief was cited by the state Supreme Court when it ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in May 2008.