Judy E. Hall, PhD
Below I highlight only a few benefits we offer Registrants, beginning with federal advocacy, to Internet opportunities, to expedited licensure. On other pages we address activities which should also interest you.
National Provider Identifier: Health Service Psychologist Code
Psychologists who bill Medicare must comply with a May 2007 deadline and file for a national provider identifier (NPI). That application requires the identification of profession and practice sub-areas. Concerns have been expressed about the relevance of the various codes, the failure to define practice areas as including diagnosis and assessment, and how the codes might be used by healthcare companies, which also use these codes, to limit practice in the future (unknown at this point). To address some of these concerns, in February 2006 I proposed to the NUCC Code Set Subcommittee Co-Chair, Gail Kocher, that the NUCC code set include a category for health service provider in psychology and asked that a code be added to the taxonomy. After we provided a rationale tied to the online database of ~12,000 credentialed psychologists and our 1974 definition of health service provider in psychology, they voted to agree to take an existent category (health) and re-label it as health service psychologist and tie it to our definition. Since then the new code definition and label has been uploaded to their Web site and is effective. We recognize that there have been many questions concerning this requirement by Medicare. Registrants have asked what they should do. Even if you are not a Medicare provider, this code set is used by private healthcare. Thus, you will need to file an application by May 2007. Our recommendation is that after identifying yourself as psychologist or neuropsychologist, you should choose the codes appropriate to your education, training and credentialing. Be certain to choose health service psychologist. There is no limit on the number of subcodes you can list so choosing to identify yourself as a health service provider in psychology does not mean that you cannot use other codes.
This is an important outcome of advocacy at the federal level that identifies Registrants so we are pleased that we were persuasive. This definition is broader than many other areas and provides a mechanism for verifying your credentials online at the National Register Web site, if the insurer or Medicare chooses to do so.
Good Things Come in Threes
Our communication efforts this year have been outstanding. We launched three Web sites, which is a massive undertaking and a drain on resources. We typically re-design our Web site every 3-4 years. This year we not only re-designed the look and functionality of the National Register Web site by July, we also created a new consumer referral Web site by August and uploaded an automatic scoring CE Web site in October. If you haven’t already done so, check out these three new Web sites (and see pp. 10-13 in this issue for more information):
www.nationalregister.org - for psychologists and students.
www. e- psychologist. org - the CE site for Registrants featuring online scoring and printable CE certificates.
www. findapsychologist. org - the referral site for consumers.
Some exciting news on the National Register Web site results from our Millennium Fund. Contributions to this fund provides credentialing scholarships for graduate students (in cooperation with APAGS) and for early career psychologists (in cooperation with Committee on Early Career Psychologists). In this issue we list recipients of the ECP scholarships and we list the contributors that make these awards possible on our Web site. It is a great tribute to professional psychologists when they help those coming up the ladder. Tax-deductible contributions may be made online in your Registrant account at www.nationalregister.org. Simply log in using your Registrant ID and last four digits of your SSN. Then click on “purchase items”. We also modified this year’s invoice to allow Registrants to make tax deductible contributions.
Find A Psychologist is also the new name of our database (FAP). It was launched with a media campaign to make the public more aware of credentialed psychologists. We are on the radio, TV and in print promoting FAP to encourage consumers to go there 24/7 when they need help, including getting answers to their many questions. The referral queries skyrocketed. For example, in August 2005, we had 16,423 referral queries. In August 2006, after launching the new site, we had 122,164 referral queries! To connect these informed consumers to Registrants, prospective clients may now send a confidential email to Registrants who choose this service. There is a button next to their name on the search screen, Contact me now. So far ~1200 have authorized us to set up this confidential communication route. Consumers don’t see the email address but we are notified when an email is sent so we can keep track of the activity.
Then, adding a personal Web site URL allows the consumer to review detailed information provided by a Registrant, including an option of photo, insurance taken, office hours, etc., none of which can be listed on FAP. So far approximately 100 Registrants have submitted Web site URLs which meet our criteria.
To sign up for confidential email on the FAP site, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t have a personal Web site, one is available from the National Register. Contact email@example.com for details.
In this issue for the first time, articles for CE credit may be read online; the quiz may be taken online and scored immediately; then you can print the certificate from your computer. You may also review which modules you have already completed that are in your CE account. For those of you have not taken advantage of the CE credits in the last issue of The Register Report, the articles and questions are now online.
Verifications to Licensure Boards
The National Register successfully implemented a mobility program in 1999. Currently, 41 US & Canadian jurisdictions have adopted or are in the process of adopting the credential as a fast track mechanism. That means that you can obtain a license very quickly in the majority of jurisdictions in North America. (See National Register Web page for list of those states and provinces.)
The important news is this program has resulted in 500 written credential verifications on Registrants to licensure boards since the program’s implementation (Some jurisdictions simply verify online so we would not necessarily know about those expedited licensure applications). You need not look further than the National Register if you are interested in mobility, virtual or geographic.
National Register Board Members
Janet L. Dewar of Washington, DC, joined the board of directors in June 2006 as a public representative with expertise in marketing, business development, international relations, and strategic planning. Already she has had a significant impact on our public relations efforts.
Soon we will be announcing the call for nominations for additional board members. Following the upcoming board meeting, we will alert Registrants directly by email with the characteristics needed and the deadline for application. Look for it. It is a great opportunity to serve the profession and the public.