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President's Message: February 2017

Posted By Thomas P. Swales, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Friday, February 24, 2017

The Ohio Board of Psychology is being eliminated! 

In November, a bill was introduced that would have eliminated the Ohio Board of Psychology. The legislation would have consolidated various boards. 

Fortunately, Michael Ranney and the Board of Directors of your Ohio Psychological Association worked behind the scenes to pressure the sponsors of this bill to take no further action. Our first battle was won. 

However, the next legislative battle may be lost, unless we take action. 

According to the proposed budget for the State of Ohio, the Ohio Board of Psychology will be eliminated within six months. 

As you may remember, the budget bill process was previously used by John Kasich’s administration to push through Medicaid expansion. 

While most of us cheered Medicaid expansion, the current proposal, hidden within the budget bill, may have tragic consequences for psychology. 

What can I do to help fight this?

  1.  Be prepared to speak with your legislator personally. Personal contact is what counts. We will help you by preparing talking points for you to cover. Get to know them. Offer to help them as a consultant on any mental health concern. We are their experts. We voted them into office, and are their constituents, and supporters.  
  2. Attend Legislative Day. Clear your schedule, and give us one day of your time. Drive down to Columbus, and spend the day meeting face-to-face with Ohio State Senators and Representatives. You’ll have lunch with legislators from across Ohio in the Statehouse Atrium. We will also set up appointments for you and your colleagues to have face-to-face meetings with your legislator, or their aide. 
  3. Stay in touch. We are putting together our advocacy strategy. When Michael Ranney, Penny Tipps, Brad Potts, or anyone else from OPA reaches out to you for help in the near future, please pick up the phone, or read their email, and respond.

Final thoughts

First, our Executive Director Michael Ranney, lobbyist Penny Tipps, and Advocacy Chair Brad Potts, along with the rest of the OPA Board, will put together our strategy to preserve the licensing board. Our strategy must be thorough, and effective. 

Second, our previous strategy worked. One of the sponsors of last year’s bill to eliminate the psychology board would have refused to sponsor it again, because of all the opposition that we pulled together against the bill. We were part of a coalition of over 100,000 licensed professionals who opposed the bill. Many of them reached out to complain.

Third, you are paying the bill for the licensing board, through your licensing fees - Don’t settle for less than the best. You should get what you already pay for. Ohio Board of Psychology Executive Director Ron Ross, PhD, and Board President Alice Randolph, Ph.D. and the rest of the board and staff have provided us with excellent, responsive, and efficient service, in both licensing and investigations.

Finally, I cannot promise you that we will win this battle. 

However, I can promise you that the Ohio Psychological Association will do everything in its power to defeat this proposal. We need an independent Ohio Psychology Board!

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below or call OPA today!

Thomas P. Swales, Ph.D., ABPP
President, Ohio Psychological Association

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