VPA has been working with other health care associations and organizations on submitting legislation to prohibit insurers from imposing contract or policy provisions that penalize a participating provider if that provider makes a referral to a non-participating provider, such as the provision BCBSVT introduced this past summer. That legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Health Care Committee for consideration.
BCBSVT has revised its policy to some extent in response to our concerns, but we do not believe the revision goes far enough.
You can view the relevant documents below.
YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED ASAP to let members of the Senate Finance Committee know that you support Section 1 of S.309 as introduced. This legislation addresses the insurer payment policy that holds referring providers financially liable for out-of-network referrals in certain circumstances.
Senate Finance Committee (S.309):
Sen. Ann Cummings, Chair
Sen. Mark A. MacDonald, Vice-Chair, Clerk
Sen. Michael Sirotkin
Sen. Brian Campion
Sen. Becca Balint
Sen. Randy Brock
House Health Care Committee (H.825):
Rep. William J. Lippert Jr., Chair
Rep. Anne B. Donahue, Vice Chair
Rep. Lori Houghton, Ranking Member
Rep. Annmarie Christensen, Clerk
Rep. Brian Cina
Rep. Mari Cordes
Rep. David Durfee
Rep. Woodman Page
Rep. Peter Reed
Rep. Lucy Rogers
Rep. Brian Smith
VPA is actively lobbying the Vermont legislature for passage of the pending legislation for prescriptive authority for doctorate-level psychologists. Under the RxP bill pending, the only psychologists who would have authority to prescribe psychotropic medications are doctorate-level psychologists with a post-doctoral master's degree in psychopharmacology.
Contact your legislator and ask them to support RxP!
The Vermont Office of Professional Regulation takes the position that the training and education required by the RxP legislation is equal to or greater than that required for other prescribers, and that RxP does not present any public safety issues. In addition, prescribing psychologists would have to consult with either a primary care provider or psychiatrist before making any prescribing decisions.
TOTAL: 13 - 17 YEARS OF TRAINING
PLUS passage of national licensing exam
Certain restrictions apply to the proposed prescribing authority:
Even though the Vermont Medical Society and VAHHS have been vocal in their opposition to RxP, other groups support this important legislation, including the Vermont Association of Naturopathic Physicians and OPR. An out-of-state proponent has also weighed in on RxP with the Vermont legislature. You can see that letter below.
You can search for legislation, find your local legislators, and discover the status of pending bills at the website for the Vermont General Assembly.
VPA supports and advocates for current legislation giving prescriptive authority for doctorate-level psychologists with advanced post-doctoral training in clinical psychopharmacology.
VPA advocates for this legislation to increase access to qualified prescribers, increase the quality of care by placing medication prescription with the talk therapy provider, and reduce mental health care costs.
VPA advocates for issues related to increased sustainability of, and access to, mental health care in the rural areas of Vermont.
VPA supports and advocates for the establishment of more integrated care models. "Integrated care" is the systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare. Integrating mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and proves the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple healthcare needs. You can read more about integrated care at the SAMHSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions website.
The Rural Health Care Task Force, of which Rick Barnett (VPA Legislative Committe Chair) is a member, has proposed to the House Health Care Committee that master's level psychologists and licensed mental health counselors be eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. This issue is in the state legislature because of the Medicare waiver Vermont has received.
The Task Force also recommended the passage of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), which would facilitate telehealth across state lines.