Legislative Committee Co-Chairs: John Northman, PhD & Roy Aranda, PsyD, JD
Federal Advocacy Coordinators: John Northman, PhD & Sabrina Esbitt, PhD
The Legislative Committee (L/C) is the "political arm" of NYSPA. The primary purpose of the L/C is to seek enactment of legislation favorable to psychology and block legislative initiatives unfavorable to the profession. By working directly with governmental units responsible for implementing laws, the L/C also seeks to bring about changes in policy through regulations. The L/C works directly in collaboration with the NYSPA lobbyist.
2017 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
This bill authorizes physicians and psychologists to form LLCs, professional service LLCs, foreign professional service LLCs, LLPs and foreign LLPs with each other. Currently, psychologists may own their own practices, but cannot enter into an ownership agreement with a psychiatrist or other medical doctor. This legislation would allow for joint ownership and the continued expansion of integrated care settings in New York State, allowing patients to seek many types of primary care within one practice.
This bill creates the ability for psychologists to prescribe appropriate medications for the treatment, diagnosis, and management of individuals under their care. This legislation would require specialized training, education, and passage of an examination before such authority is permitted. Psychologists can prescribe psychotropic medications in Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, and within the United States Military. Passage of this legislation would increase access to care for those New Yorkers living in rural or isolated areas of the state where easy and affordable access to a psychiatrist is limited or nonexistent.
DUTY TO PROTECT
This bill creates a duty to protect for licensed psychologists in New York State, which would allow them to report to the authorities when a patient has directly communicated threats of serious, imminent harm against a specific person or persons; this legislation would also provide immunity from disciplinary action if such information was reported. This duty currently exists for licensed psychologists working in state-operated mental health facilities. It is important that licensed psychologists be immune from criminal, civil, and professional liability where they feel in their professional opinion that a patient intends to inflict serious harm. When a viable threat has been made, a licensed psychologist should be able breach the traditional duty of confidentiality to contact the appropriate authorities or take appropriate actions.
OUT OF NETWORK COVERAGE
This bill requires insurers to offer out of network coverage as an option to any health insurance contract, both inside and outside of the statewide health benefit exchange. The availability of out of network benefits has been steadily declining as more plans are offered by state health exchanges; licensed psychologists are concerned that this results in decreased access to mental health services and supports the expansion of health plans to include out of network coverage.
For more information, visit the Legislative Activities section on www.nyspa.org.
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