Perspective on Practice

This column is devoted to helping members understand clearly how APA and its companion, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO), collectively support the professional interests of practitioners and why membership in both organizations is vital. APA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. As such, APA operates for the good of the public in advancing charitable, educational or scientific purposes.

One of the APA strategic plan's goals is to expand psychology's role in advancing health. Several of our major activities — including educating the public about the value of psychologists and psychological services, creating and disseminating professional and clinical practice guidelines, and fostering the creation of psychologically healthy workplaces — serve this goal and benefit both practitioners and the public.

The APA Practice Organization, with its sole focus on practice, provides additional benefits to licensed APA members who become members of APAPO by paying the annual Practice Assessment. APAPO is dedicated exclusively to confronting challenges and creating opportunities for practitioners in a changing health care system.

APAPO advocates for practitioners on Capitol Hill, in the courts and the marketplace. Our key advocacy initiatives include:

  • Challenging payment cuts for psychological services by Medicare and private sector health insurers.
  • Supporting litigation and spearheading regulatory action against abusive managed care practices.
  • Advocating for professional psychology as the federal health care reform law — the Affordable Care Act — is implemented.
  • Gaining support for pending legislation to include psychologists in the Medicare definition of physician.
  • Affirming the doctoral standard for independent psychology practice in collaboration with state psychological associations.
  • Confronting assaults on psychologists' scope of practice.

Created as a 501(c)(6) organization, APAPO is not subject to the same IRS restrictions as APA. Limited only by available resources, the APA Practice Organization is able to engage in a broad range of advocacy activities like those above in support of practicing psychologists,

For example, APAPO does not face the monetary caps on federal lobbying that apply to APA and other 501(c)(3) organizations. And we can actively address professional "guild" issues such as reimbursement — the issue that consistently tops the list of professional concerns identified by members in periodic APAPO surveys.

Much of our work in APA Practice reflects the missions of both APA and APAPO. One example is creating opportunities for psychologists' participation in Medicaid as millions of new beneficiaries are added to the program by 2014.

Providing Medicaid participants with access to psychological services is consistent with APA's goals. In many states, psychologists are not recognized as providers in Medicaid. Even in states where they are recognized, psychologists cannot bill for health and behavior services because most Medicaid programs don't cover these services. That's where APAPO comes into play: confronting barriers regarding access to and appropriate reimbursement for the full range of psychologists' services.

APAPO's advocacy activities are funded by the Practice Assessment, not by APA dues. Practice Assessment payments are not part of your APA membership dues, although they are billed on your APA dues statement. Nonpayment of the Practice Assessment to the APAPO does not affect membership in APA. 

Every APA dues dollar and Practice Assessment dollar is an investment in the future of psychology. Together the APA and the APAPO translate into a powerful voice for psychology and the profession all year long.

You can pay your APA dues and APAPO Practice Assessment for 2013 online at MyAPA. Other options include returning the dues statement you received in the mail or calling APA Membership Services toll-free at (800) 374-2721 to renew.

You help others. We are here to help you. Thank you for your continued membership in APA and the APA Practice Organization.