Psychological Testing in the Age of Managed Behavioral Healthcare

Psychological Testing in the Age of Managed Behavioral Healthcare

Psychological Testing in the Age of Managed Behavioral Healthcare

Psychological Testing in the Age of Managed Behavioral Healthcare

Synopsis

Written by a recognized expert in assessment employed by a large managed behavioral healthcare organization (MBHO), this book seeks to provide psychologists who rely on testing as an integral part of their practice, a guide on how to survive and thrive in the era of managed behavioral healthcare. It also offers ideas on how to capitalize on the opportunities that managed care presents to psychologists. The goal is to demonstrate that despite the tightening of the reins on authorizations for reimbursable testing, psychological testing can continue to play an important role in psychological practice and behavioral healthcare service delivery. The book presents ideas for: *increasing the likelihood of getting tests authorized by MBHOs; *using inexpensive/public domain assessment instruments; *ethically using psychological testing in MBHO settings; *capitalizing on the movement to integrate primary care and behavioral healthcare through the use of psychological testing; and *designing and implementing outcomes assessment systems within MBHO settings. Intended for practicing psychologists and other behavioral health practitioners employed by MBHOs in direct service delivery, care management or supervisory positions, as well as for graduate clinical or counseling psychology students who will most likely work in MBHO settings.

Excerpt

The growth of managed care as the predominant form of general health care delivery has had an enormous impact not only on patients, but also on practitioners, insurers, employers and other parties that have a stake in the care and well-being of patients. Adapting to this system of health care has not been an easy one for mental health and substance abuse professionals, particularly psychologists. in addition to limitations placed on the other services they provide, psychologists have seen dramatic restrictions imposed by managed behavioral health care organizations (MBHOs) on their use of psychological testing. For some, these restrictions have resulted in a loss of not only income, but also the freedom to exercise professional judgment in the assessment and treatment of their patients.

Contrary to earlier predictions, managed care is not a fad and it will not be going away any time soon. in fact, continued growth is expected. Although some may view the continuation of managed care with a sense of fear and anxiety, there are indeed positive aspects of this system of health care. For example, stakeholders in the managed health care delivery system will continue to influence the operation of managed care organizations (MCOs) and the benefits they manage. There also will be a continued focus on the development of empirically based guidelines, the measurement and management of outcomes, and the quality of care in general. Psychologists who are willing to work within the constraints of the policies and procedures of MBHOs, to develop new approaches to psychological testing and treatment, and to diversify their practices to include nontraditional activities should find the practice of psychology professionally satisfying and rewarding. in short, the opportunities are and will be there for those who are willing to evolve as this country's health care system evolves. This fact has served as the impetus for this book.

To provide a context for the remainder of the book, chapter 1 presents a general overview of managed care in general and managed behavioral health care specifically. Among the topics discussed are the distinctions among the various types of MBHOs, the positive and negative effects of managed care, the status of psychological testing in MBHOs, and recommendations for how psychologists can survive in this new era of health care.

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