What single-payer health care would mean for California therapists

California flagThe Healthy California Act — California’s single-payer bill — continues to make progress through the state legislature. If signed into law, it would make California the first state to have a statewide single-payer health care system, even as the federal Affordable Care Act may be scaled back. How would single-payer health care impact therapists, counselors, and related mental health providers?

Here, I’ll do a quick review of what we know so far. It’s broken down into three questions providers rightly ask about the bill: How would it impact my client load? How would it impact my rates? And, How would it impact how I run my practice?

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New Mexico, Nevada, Connecticut ban conversion therapy for minors

Ryan McGuire - Licensed under Creative Commons ZeroEarlier this month, the governors of Nevada and Connecticut signed laws banning conversion therapy for minors in those states. These follow the signing of a similar law in New Mexico in April. According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, nine states now ban the practice. The District of Columbia and cities including Seattle, Cincinnati, and several in Florida have enacted similar bans.

If you are not familiar with the practice, conversion therapy (also sometimes known as reparative therapy) involves efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation. The American Psychological Association and other professional mental health groups have strongly disavowed the practice. They note that there is no evidence that the treatment is generally effective, but there is evidence of harm that it can cause.

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Lawsuit accuses APA of defamation over torture report

A 2015 report commissioned by the American Psychological Association determined that the organization colluded with military and CIA officials to allow psychologists to participate in torture of military detainees. Five people named in that report have now sued the APA and the report’s author, David Hoffman. (The report is widely known and referenced as the Hoffman Report.) The lawsuit alleges that Hoffman worked with longtime APA critics to create a one-sided and often inaccurate telling of how the APA interacted with military and intelligence officials. This report then allowed the APA to use the five as scapegoats, they say, in some cases ending their careers.

The Hoffman Report, and the APA’s responses to it, are collected here. The lawsuit can be read here. They present vastly different perspectives on the events Hoffman and his team investigated.

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HIPAA compliance: Three great resources under $35

HHS logo. HHS offers information on HIPAA
The US Department of Health and Human Services.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, confuses a lot of therapists. Parts of the law are flexible based on the size and type of entity involved. Other parts apply equally to every covered entity. It’s a big and complex law, one that sometimes scares therapists and counselors away from using technology in their work.

Thankfully, there are a number of good and inexpensive resources for psychotherapists who want to comply with the law. Each of the ones listed below is less than $35.

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