As President-Elect, I will pursue an agenda focused on addressing and advancing key issues, including:
·Challenges directly affecting our members
o Define alternative pathways to maintenance of certification leading to a simpler, less onerous process with a lower cost and time burden
o Advocate for practice management changes that promote well-being and burnout prevention such as implementation of care management models and EHR documentation streamlining initiatives
o Leverage emerging technologies to improve the delivery of care at the same time that we keep our members abreast of this rapidly changing arena
Breaking down barriers to equitable access to care and collaborative models
o Mobilize APA's most valuable resource, our members, bringing together a group to expand on current parity legislation endeavors particularly at the state level
o Strive for bipartisan solutions and highlight the importance of access to treatment for mental health and substance use disorders as essential health benefits
o Forge a close working relationship with other front-line medical organizations to improve funding for collaborative care
Promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organization utilizing my personal and mentoring experience
Enhance communication with legislators regarding the current opioid crisis and advocate for increased access to treatment for substance use disorders
Combat stigma and other obstacles that affect the well-being of our patients
Furthermore, we have witnessed how telepsychiatry and teleconsultation have increased access to care and opened interdisciplinary communication channels respectively. I believe that these and other emerging technologies could be leveraged to improve our clinical practice. As President-Elect, I would dedicate efforts to further explore and evaluate this new frontier.
There are two very relevant issues that are front and center in many APA member's minds. One relates to the independent, unsupervised practice of NPs, mid-levels and other non-physician practitioners. There is a very worrisome trend whereby non-physician practitioners are being granted independent prescribing privileges. For instance, that I know of, there are 24 states that allow nurse practitioner independent prescribing authority.
The APA is a founding member of an initiative named the Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP) which, in collaboration with the AMA among others, focuses on opposing scope of practice expansions by non-physician providers that threaten the health and safety of our patients. As an example of a recent formal action taken, the APA funded efforts in Virginia to fight the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) independent practice proposals.
Rest assured that as President I will forcefully continue to oppose and take measures against scope of practice expansions from non-physician groups.
The other key issue revolves around the maintenance of certification process (MOC). This remains a challenging area for our leadership requiring a concerted effort in view of the many stakeholders involved in the process. As President of the APA, I would leverage my experience as Immediate Past Speaker of the Assembly, and continue to work closely with APA members and workgroups to define alternative pathways to maintenance of certification leading to a simpler, less onerous process with a lower cost and time burden. Some near term actions include evaluating the Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry MOC pilot program to determine feasibility and exploring the use of technology-based platforms for shorter and more frequent assessments. Furthermore, it is important to influence the developments in key states, such as Maryland, where discussions are currently underway at the Maryland Health Care Commission level.