APS admits competitive advantage of clinical psychologists

In 2012, the APS expressed significant concerns to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that clinical psychologists were being placed at a competitive advantage by Private Health Insurers who were denying their clients’ claims for services provided by non-clinical AoPE and other generally registered psychologists.

The APS in their submission, prepared by Mr. David Stokes, Mr. Bo Li, and Dr. Leah Collins of the National Office, wrote that:

“What [only recognising clinical psychologists] does is to effectively limit other specialised and general psychologists from providing services to their clients when they are both appropriately trained and, in many cases, have extra training that makes their services more than appropriate.”

They also wrote:

“An even greater concern is that around half of all registered psychologists do not have an area of endorsed practice and still provide sound services to clients with both mental health issues and other health disorders.” This statement is consistent with Reform APS’s position that there is no actual clinical basis upon which to base any such discrimination within the profession.

If this is the case, as we believe it is, why has the APS allowed all other psychologists to remain at a competitive disadvantage since 2012 despite their knowledge of the anticompetitive nature of doing so and its illegitimacy?

After submitting this position to the ACCC, how could the APS then ignore the important issues they themselves raised, by submitting to the Medicare review (August 2018) their 3-tier model, and by continuing with this farce of a Green paper, and 4 tiers, despite the competitive disadvantages it would bring to all other psychologists?

And most importantly, how can the APS fail to act in the best interest of the community now, having recognised in 2012 that the real victim of such discriminative practice was the community, who were disadvantaged by being denied affordable access to the effective services of REGISTERED psychologists.

In their current Green Paper, the APS may state that all psychologists will still be able to provide services to Mild and Moderate tiers and outside of Medicare, but the competitive advantage remains whereby clinical psychologists will continue to be able to offer higher rebates (as they have since 2006).  Most importantly, they will be perceived as superior by the community and GPs (due to the higher rebates) – not just qualifications, training and experience.

This green paper CANNOT be adopted in its current form.

Read the full APS submission to the ACCC.

Vote on Green Paper Poll HERE

RAPS is calling on all psychologists to take action. Non-endorsed psychologists still make up the majority of psychologists. Our concern is that there are still too many who are unaware of the threat to their profession and livelihood who continue to support the APS and believe in the rhetoric. It is incumbent on all psychologists to speak up, talk to their colleagues and spread the message. Psychologists cannot rely solely on others to speak for them. Everyone must take individual responsibility and actively join in the fight. As individuals our voice is small but as a united group we have the power to change things. Individual actions include withdrawing membership (financial support) from the APS, joining AAPI, joining RAPS and AP, contributing to blogs, writing to local and federal ministers (we are told that calling is even better) and talking to colleagues and/or other health professionals, including the GPs. We need to communicate to the APS and the government that we are serious and will not take this treatment lying down.

We have included the details of contacts and advocacy groups that you can send to your colleagues – see below.
RAPS
https://reformaps.org/
https://reformaps.org/what-you-can-do/subscribe/

Australian Psychologists Facebook Page
Search Australian Psychologists on Facebook and request to join the group

Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (alternative to APS)
http://www.aapoz.com/

Other actions you can take:

1) Ask the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce to reconvene the old/existing Mental Health Reference Group
1. Provide a submission on the MBSRT: Mental Health Reference Group Report, recommending that the current/existing MHRG members be reinstated (not a new group created) to resolve the critical issues caused by the existing 2-tier structure, and APS’s recent submission for 3-tiers of psychology professionals under Medicare. There is a very real risk that the recommendation for further debate will be ignored, and instead the APS 3-tier submission will be adopted without opposition, OR the current 2-tier system will continue. The only opportunity we have to resolve this once and for all is to get the same MHRG members back together to work out an effective (Pirkis, et. al., 2011) and evidence based solution (1-Tier).
2. The MHRG report is open for consultation until 17th May 2019.
3. There are several excellent recommendations within the report, and you may wish to review and provide support/comment on these as you see fit.
Priority 4. ACCC –Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – you can fill in a contact form.
2) In response to the APS attempts to restrict trade and misrepresent registered psychologists, an ACCC group submission has been developed.
If you are interested in supporting and signing the ACCC group submission please send an email asap to violethislop@gmail.com with the details listed below. She will contact you for your signature when the document is ready.
1. Your email address
2. State whether you are a current APS Member or if not,
3. State when you were a member,
4. State the name you are registered in,
5. State whether you are non-endorsed,
6. State your area of endorsement
3) Resign from the APS.
4) Consider donating to the AAPI legal fund to fight APS
Note: All donations are earmarked for the legal fund and remain linked to you. If AAPi is unable to raise 100k, they will return the monies to you. AAPI legal fund payment details:
BSB: 182512
Account: 961170248
Acct Name: AAPI Fighting Fund
For further information telephone 0418 391 820 or email admin@aapoz.com

5) Current petitions include:
https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/enough-is-enough-all-consumers-and-psychologists-in-australia-deserve-equal-access-to-medicare

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/community_petitions/The_Hon_Michael_Keenan_MP_The_Hon_Dan_Tehan_MP_Ms_Renee_Leon_PSM_Increase_Access_and_Fairness_to_Mental_Health_Assessmen_1/?ckCmMab&utm_source=sharetools&utm_medium=copy&utm_campaign=petition-571737-The_Hon_Michael_Keenan_MP_The_Hon_Dan_Tehan_MP_Ms_Renee_Leon_PSM_Increase_Access_and_Fairness_to_Mental_Health_Assessmen&utm_term=kCmMab%2Ben
https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/help-create-sustainable-care-for-veterans-and-their-families