On January 11, APA submitted comments to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Interim Final Rule “Authority of VA Professionals To Practice Health Care.” The rule solidifies VA’s ability to create scope of practice standards for care provided throughout the VA system. 

APA’s comment expressed strong support for the final interim rule (PDF, 353KB), especially the ability of psychologists, including psychology trainees under appropriate supervision, to practice across state lines either in person or through telehealth. VA is a pioneer in the telehealth field, and supporting VA providers’ ability to provide care to veterans regardless of where they live is critical to ensuring the continued high quality of care provided at VA. 

Included in APA’s comments are additional recommendations for VA to consider, such as consulting with APA as VA develops national practice standards for psychologists, and allowing psychologists to prescribe in VA, as they already do in the Department of Defense (DoD). As VA modernizes its electronic health record system with DoD, it presents a unique opportunity to allow prescribing psychologists to practice to the full scope of their license and credential. Allowing these qualified prescribing psychologists to practice will expand access to and continuity of critical mental health treatment for veterans. 

In addition to its own comment, APA joined the Patient Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA)’s joint comment (PDF, 139KB) to VA’s Interim Final Rule in support of allowing providers to practice at the top of their license and credential. 

For more information, contact Sophie Friedl.