Demonstrating the important role that state, provincial and territorial associations (SPTAs) play in elevating constituent voices to Congress, eight SPTAs joined a targeted effort to protect a key provision for psychology in the forthcoming Build Back Better reconciliation package. The provision would give the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) the ability to issue fines for mental health parity violations, which it currently does not have. If created, this authority would deter parity violations before they lead to patients being denied key mental health services at a time of unprecedented need. There is potential for this provision to become law but it is not there yet—while the House negotiators included it in their proposed package, the Senate has not yet made such a commitment.
This grassroots effort, in partnership with The Kennedy Forum, ASAM, NAMI, and APA Services, targeted Democratic senators who are influential in reconciliation negotiations because of their committee seats. We are grateful for rapid action by the New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington State Psychological Associations, who sent their senators letters advocating for the Senate to keep this important provision when negotiating with the House. Additionally, we are grateful to the California and Illinois Psychological Associations, and the Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists, for signing onto similar letters led by our partners in their respective states.
These SPTAs kept pace with the speedy developments in Congress around the Build Back Better reconciliation package. In doing so, they strengthened the voice of psychology in the nation’s capital.
APA will keep members informed on opportunities for additional action during the reconciliation process, as well as on the final outcome.
For more information on giving DOL authority to issue fines for mental health parity violations, please contact Scott Barstow.