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OPA Bids Celeste a Fond Farewell!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016  
Posted by: Michael Ranney
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On May 1, 1998, OPA joined a growing list of states creating a position of Director of Professional Affairs (DPA).  It was not easy to persuade Dr. Bobbie Celeste to take on the DPA role but we were persistent.

Dr. Celeste has defined the DPA role to include a broad range of activities that have benefitted Ohio psychologists.  She consults with OPA members on a variety of issues; expanded OPA’s influence by participating in coalitions; and effectively advocates with key departments (Medicaid, Mental Health, Insurance, Health, etc.). She is always willing to work collaboratively with DPA’s from other states.

She has shown outstanding service in her role with insurance advocacy as the point person for addressing difficult issues with Anthem, Humana, Aetna, etc.  Her work to build insurance contacts that can solve problems has been invaluable.  Her close work with APAPO’s Legal and Regulatory Affairs Office supported National level work.  Most recently she worked with APA to help stop an improper Anthem audit.

Dr. Celeste has been an effective leader in passing legislation addressing areas of concern for Ohio Psychologists.  Among the many bills for which she has advocated are: legislation mandating that insurers pay providers promptly; mental health parity; sequence of training; prescriptive authority; numerous state budgets; psychology law update; certification of applied behavior analysts under the Board of Psychology; and Medicaid Expansion.  She lobbied the Medicaid Department for changes in the rules governing supervision and reimbursement of interns opening up new opportunities for students.  She is currently working with Medicaid to open up the Health and Behavior Codes and with the Bureau of Workers Compensation to establish an early intervention program.

She has developed OPA’s Legislative Day into an effective advocacy tool, training hundreds of new advocates.  She created a scholarship program to support the participation of graduate students and Early Career Psychologists  in Legislative Day.  Moving it to the Statehouse with the inclusion of a Health Fair has expanded OPA’s visibility with legislators.  Under her leadership ethnic minority psychologists have an opportunity to meet for breakfast with members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

She has served as a member of our Political Action Committee, helping to engineer successful fund raising efforts.  She regularly attends events for Ohio legislators, pitching our issues and ideas and building strong legislative relationships.

Dr. Celeste has been an outspoken advocate for the diversity initiatives of OPA.  She has contributed significantly to OPA Board discussions about Board and leadership diversity. 

She has been an effective leader in Federal Advocacy, scheduling “Hill Visits” and training the members of OPA’s delegation to the State Leadership Conference. She has participated in special advocacy efforts with Ohio’s Senators and some members of Congress, particularly on the “physician definition” and Medicare reimbursement issues.

Dr. Celeste served as a member of the APA’s Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice.  She has been generous in consulting others seeking to get involved in APA and Division governance.

For all of this work for psychology, spanning 18 years Bobbie Celeste was awarded the APA 2016 State Leadership Award.

As 2016 winds down Bobbie Celeste will be retiring.  We wish her well in her new endeavors and trust that she will enjoy having more time with her children and grandchildren.  She will be missed.  She has certainly left her mark on Ohio Psychology.  THANK YOU, BOBBIE!

OPA has setup a forum for those who wish to send Bobbie a message. Please click here to access the forum.