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To Join or Not to Join? – A Complex Question

Members of the Iowa Psychological Association occasionally ask about IPA’s stance regarding the psychology interstate compact known as PsyPact. Most psychologists have received ample marketing from multiple sources regarding the primary stated objective: to increase ease of interstate telehealth practice, a widely supported objective for expanding psychological treatment accessibility. At the same time, these marketing messages provide limited information regarding the specific terms of PsyPact and thereby limit awareness of its challenges. The concept behind a compact like PsyPact contains some highly desirable components, while its implementation has left cause for concern. Upon examining specifics of the compact, concerns about patient protections become apparent. 

Due to these concerns, IPA has opposed adoption of PsyPact in Iowa in order to support ethical and sustainable psychological services in Iowa. It is worth noting that multiple state associations have expressed concerns about the rules of PsyPact that have kept their states from joining the compact (accessible via Internet search but not explicitly listed in the interest of discretion) and IPA leaders have encountered similar expressed concerns in private communications with current PsyPact members. It is the perspective of IPA that it would be best to wait for major concerns to be addressed before joining this compact (most notably, the compact’s current determination of the “home state” as the location of the psychologist). If PsyPact made changes to reduce the safety risks for Iowans, or if a feasible alternative were to become available, IPA would be open to reconsidering its stance. The primary concerns are detailed below.

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Presidential Update Summer 2023

IPA’s mission is to promote the science and practice of psychology for the benefit of all Iowans. Our volunteer leaders and paid contractors have been working hard in 2023 to carry out that mission in alignment with our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the important developments from the first part of the year and the people who have been generously donating their time and energy for all our benefit.

Education and Training

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Taking Action to Sustain Care in Challenging Times: Supporting our TGNB Clients and Communities

We are in a time of significant legislative challenge focused on Iowa citizens who are transgender/non-binary (TGNB).  Recent changes to Iowa law include, amongst several actions, prohibiting youth who are TGNB from accessing gender affirming medical care. This creates challenges for psychologists who work with youth who are TGNB and their family and friends.

As a gay, cis-gender psychologist with a long history of working with people who are TGNB and their communities, I have had the privilege to deepen my understanding about the challenges people who are TGNB must manage and emotionally attend to, while also just moving forward with daily life.  State laws that then negatively impact youth who are TGNB make this “lifting” of daily life infinitely more challenging.  People of color who are TGNB may experience even heavier burden and may more strongly feel the impact of these laws.

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Join IPA Leadership: Enjoy the Rewards of Leadership and Service

Flowstate Health is a behavioral health services company operating in Iowa and Nebraska. We are a collaborative team of mental health professionals providing medication evaluation and management, psychotherapy, crisis evaluation, and other services for adults and seniors. Full- and part-time positions available for onsite and telehealth work for licensed providers.

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IPA Service: Get a Great Return on Your Investment

The Membership Committee strives to increase member participation in activities that promote the IPA mission and Strategic Plan. A primary Membership Committee objective is to assist IPA’s standing committees in reaching their desired capacities. Over the past year, our Finance, Psychopharmacology, and Diversity and Social Justice committees have benefitted from the participation of some of the newest IPA members, including student members. This effort has been greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, the majority of IPA committees continue to seek members.

The success of IPA requires each of us to consider how we can best contribute to the association. Prior to serving initially as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and now, additionally, as President-Elect of IPA, I recall declining repeated requests to increase participation in the association, explaining that my time was too limited. Upon reflection, however, I recognized that IPA only functions as an association due to the volunteerism of a number of dedicated members who ensure that we are able to successfully organize and advocate for the profession of psychology and the well-being of the Iowans we serve.

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What does IPA do for you?

The Iowa Psychological Association (IPA) has been working diligently on your behalf to promote and advocate for the science and practice of psychology in Iowa. In the past year we’ve made significant progress toward many of our key initiatives and we continue to work tirelessly for all licensed psychologists in our state. In this letter we will provide some updates regarding IPA’s recent advocacy work and victories, recognize IPA psychologist leaders, provide updates regarding strategic plan initiatives, and highlight upcoming continuing education opportunities.  

IPA’s advocacy efforts have been in overdrive the past 18 months. IPA’s Advocacy Team includes the State Advocacy Coordinator (Paul Ascheman, PhD), Federal Advocacy Coordinator (JoAnna Romero Cartaya, PhD), IPA Training Director (Matt Cooper, PsyD), and IPA Lobbyist (Amy Campbell). The newest member of the IPA Advocacy Team is Dr. Bethe Lonning, IPA’s Director of Professional Affairs (DPA). Dr. Lonning has done an excellent job in her unique role which includes advocating for the needs of psychologists regarding the professional practice of psychology and serving as a liaison between IPA and professional associations, governmental agencies, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), private insurance agencies, and other institutions. Dr. Lonning has been a trailblazer during her inaugural year as DPA. She has served as an invaluable resource for many Iowa psychologists regarding issues related to insurance reimbursement, CPT codes, payer credentialing, and Medicare and telehealth guidelines. IPA is also grateful for the support of the Iowa Psychological Foundation who provided a generous grant to help fund the DPA position and Dr. Lonning’s work.  

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Meet your IPA Representatives!

Today’s blog post features introductions from IPA’s two representatives. Per IPA’s policies and procedures, we have three representatives elected to serve as voting members of the Executive Council (EC). The responsibilities of these members are to represent the general membership of IPA and act as liaison to members by inviting their input, conveying their requests to council, responding to their requests, and encouraging their continued support of IPA. They also help to identify and recruit prospective members. Representatives are elected to 3-year terms where they will serve as First Year Rep, Second Year Rep, and Third Year Rep; each year has different responsibilities.

If you are interested in serving as an IPA Representative, contact a current representative or any other member of the EC.

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My Road to RxP - NMSU

This is the first in a multi-part series where psychologists describe their journeys to pursuing prescriptive authority in Iowa.  

My road to becoming a prescribing psychologist really started many, many miles ago when I was in graduate school. Even way back then, in the early 1990s, I found a class on psychopharmacology taught by a local psychiatrist fascinating and the information was very useful in my early practice. Fast forward to the 2000s, when IPA first had members interested in pursuing advocacy for prescriptive authority. Through the years, I worked with Dr. Bethe Lonning and Dr. Greg Febbraro to advocate for the law granting us the right to prescribe medication with a limited formulary and additional training after our doctoral degrees. I completed the Farleigh Dickinson University Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) program, graduating in 2011. I passed the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP) in 2012. It would seem like that’s where my road would end, at a happy RxP place- but no! After helping to pass the legislation granting prescriptive authority for psychologists in Iowa in 2016, it took three years for us to negotiate rules to support the law with the Board of Medicine. The rules were not finalized until 2019, meaning that my 5-year window from the time of graduation to the time to apply for a conditional license was already passed.

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