Committee on Rural Health (CRH): 2008 Annual Report

Members

Clark D. Campbell, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair; Rosemary Adam-Terem, Ph.D.; David O. Hill, Ph.D.; Shannon Ledesma Jones, PhD; John M. O'Brien, Ph.D.; Sandy Rose, Ph.D.; Carolyn S. Schroeder, Ph.D.; Diane J. Willis, Ph.D.

Mission

The vision of the APA Committee on Rural Health is to achieve the full and optimal impact of the science, practice and advocacy of psychology in rural America.  To this end, the Committee envisions the integration of rural perspectives in APA policy and removal of barriers to comprehensive health care for rural communities.

2008 Activities

1. Goal: Encourage the development of relationships with Primary Care Associations including developing models for integration with them, advocating for placement of student interns in primary care settings, and increasing advocacy with legislators and institutions for inclusions and federal dollars for this purpose.

In 2008, the Committee on Rural Health started the Primary Care Association Initiative. The committee put significant emphasis on increasing the number of psychologists and psychology trainees in federally qualified health centers. In its Fall 2008 meeting, the committee, under the auspices of CAPP, hosted a meeting with the Education Directorate Government Relations Office to address this issue. The result of the meeting was a plan for states psychological associations to work through the state primary care associations to increase the number of psychologists and trainees in community health centers. The meeting was attended by psychology leaders in rural health, integrated care, and graduate and post-graduate training as well as staff from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). New Mexico and Maine psychological associations both started primary care initiatives in 2008 and the committee will continue to monitor their progress as well as encourage other starts to join the initiative.

2. Goal: Increase awareness of rural issues for graduate students and early career psychologists through NHSC.

The committee updated the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Primer for Licensed Psychologists for the FY 2008 NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP) cycle. The primer was distributed to the CRH and ECP listservs. To increase the ability of psychologists to participate in all NHSC programs and to disseminate information on the LRP, the committee has been working with the Committee on Early Career Psychologists and the Education Directorate Government Relations Office. The committee will continue to monitor this program and publicize it to the rural network.

3. Goal: Enhance connection to Rural Health Coordinators (RHCs) through the Welcome Packet and information on Primary Care Associations.

The committee created a welcome packet for all of the members of the Rural Health Coordinator (RHC) Network. The welcome packet included a description of the rural health coordinator position, information on the Committee on Rural Health and the NHSC LRP, and a roster of the RHCs. The packet was sent to all current RHCs. In addition, the committee conducted a survey of the RHCs and will use this information to direct future communications with the network.

4. Goal: Promote rural aspects of the prescriptive authority agenda (RxP) and advocate for rural use of telehealth (CE, Supervision, Consultation, Direct Service).

The committee continued to monitor the prescriptive authority agenda in the states. At its Spring 2008 meeting the committee received a report from Deborah Baker, Director for Prescriptive Authority on the progress of prescriptive authority legislation in the states. The committee has also been interested in psychologists with prescriptive authority in the Indian Health Service and the US Public Health Service.

The committee discussed ongoing changes in the delivery and reimbursement of telehealth services. At its Spring meeting, the committee received a report from Diane Pedulla on telehealth billing codes for Medicare. The committee also discussed the costs associated with setting up a telehealth site for direct service.