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PCSAS in the Hizzouse

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DynamicDidactic

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Surprised this hasn't been posted yet. Sent out by Kraut from APS

Dear All, The House of Representatives recently passed a funding bill covering the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for 2014 that includes instructions for the VA structure dealing with health (the Veterans Heath Administration, or VHA) to move quickly to recognize the new Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). This kind of recognition of an outside organization in a Congressional order is unusual and is a testament to the growing stature of PCSAS in clinical training as a way for improving public health, in this case the health of our nation's veterans. It likely also predicts further recognition of PCSAS in other parts of the federal training structure - at DoD, NIH and elsewhere. Congratulations to all those involved in developing what is clearly becoming an important advance in psychological science and in furthering the science of clinical treatment.

The next step in this process is for the Senate to pass its version of the VA bill, but know that the House instructions remain in place no matter what unfolds. Below is exactly what the House of Representatives said:

Clinical psychologist supply.—The [House Appropriations] Committee is aware that the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) in September 2012 received recognition and accreditation authority from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to provide accreditation of PhD programs in psychological clinical science. The Committee understands that the VHA is in the process of modifying its regulations to permit the training and employment of psychologists at the VHA who are graduates of PCSAS-accredited programs, and urges the VHA to promulgate the regulatory changes as soon as possible in order to increase the number of mental health clinicians available to veterans using the VA healthcare system
 

MCParent

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Surprised this hasn't been posted yet. Sent out by Kraut from APS

This is good (I like PCSAS), but it won't have a major impact until state boards REPLACE APA with PCSAS; unless state boards say PCSAS is equivalent to APA, PCSAS-only students will technically be graduating from unaccredited programs.

So, step in the right direction, but several more systems have to come into play for this to have a big impact.
 

AcronymAllergy

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This is good (I like PCSAS), but it won't have a major impact until state boards REPLACE APA with PCSAS; unless state boards say PCSAS is equivalent to APA, PCSAS-only students will technically be graduating from unaccredited programs.

So, step in the right direction, but several more systems have to come into play for this to have a big impact.

Agreed, it's tempered, but it's great news. I'd imagine it'd be much easier to convince state legislative bodies to accept PCSAS if VA hospitals (i.e., to the best of my knowledge, the largest network of teaching/training hospitals in the country) accept PCSAS accreditation as equivalent to APA.

Maybe that'd also light a fire under APA's butt to start seriously reviewing its own accreditation criteria. Although on the flip side, it might cause them to go even MORE in favor of the professional school model to try and replace the members they'd lose to PCSAS.
 

futureapppsy2

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I like PCSAS--and would like someone to replace the APA accrediting body as the main psychology accred organization, given what they've done with FSPS--but I'm concerned that they wouldn't do anything for balanced university-based PhD programs.
 

Neuropsych2be

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This is good (I like PCSAS), but it won't have a major impact until state boards REPLACE APA with PCSAS; unless state boards say PCSAS is equivalent to APA, PCSAS-only students will technically be graduating from unaccredited programs.

So, step in the right direction, but several more systems have to come into play for this to have a big impact.

Frankly the state boards have no compelling reason to favor PCSAS over APA. Many states like California and New York don't even require an APA accredited degree. Furthermore the COA of the APA and the ASPPB are currently in bed together pushing a model licensing act to bring greater uniformity in licensing standards across the country. Getting most states to adopt that model licensing act will take years. I can't imagine why state boards would want to favour the PCSAS designation to the exclusion of APA.
 

DynamicDidactic

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The VA has a long history of setting the trend for clinical training and licensure. After the war, it was the VA that established the doctoral level as the requisite training for clinical psychology. Furthermore, it was the VA that pushed for the APA to accredit internships (and eventually post docs) because federal funding necessitated accreditation by an independent governing body. If the VA were to accept PCSAS as equivalent training to that of APA then, I believe, it would lead others to do the same.

As mentioned earlier, only one state actually requires APA accreditation for licensure (Alabama), in all other states applicants just need to document their training was equivalent to that of APA accredited programs. That should not be an issue with PCSAS accredited programs. If this were to actually happen, and we are far away from that. I think this has a few potential consequences:

1. Having no competition in the marketplace has made the APA complacent. Having a rival may make the APA tighten its control on the field of psychology. There are signs of that already with some small changes the APA has instituted to address the internship imbalance and a discussion has begun about the APA attempting to change state laws to require APA accreditation.

2. APA cannot prevent PCSAS from attaining equal footing and the field becomes divided or a two tier system emerges.

3. Our field has a long history of splinter organization attempting to advocate for a sect of psychologists. However, these groups have never been able to survive with the notable exception of the APS (for a few reasons but that in itself is a separate discussion). So, another potential outcome is the APA does just enough to quiet down the revolting voices and the PCSAS dies off.
 

AcronymAllergy

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The VA has a long history of setting the trend for clinical training and licensure. After the war, it was the VA that established the doctoral level as the requisite training for clinical psychology. Furthermore, it was the VA that pushed for the APA to accredit internships (and eventually post docs) because federal funding necessitated accreditation by an independent governing body. If the VA were to accept PCSAS as equivalent training to that of APA then, I believe, it would lead others to do the same.

As mentioned earlier, only one state actually requires APA accreditation for licensure (Alabama), in all other states applicants just need to document their training was equivalent to that of APA accredited programs. That should not be an issue with PCSAS accredited programs. If this were to actually happen, and we are far away from that. I think this has a few potential consequences:

1. Having no competition in the marketplace has made the APA complacent. Having a rival may make the APA tighten its control on the field of psychology. There are signs of that already with some small changes the APA has instituted to address the internship imbalance and a discussion has begun about the APA attempting to change state laws to require APA accreditation.

2. APA cannot prevent PCSAS from attaining equal footing and the field becomes divided or a two tier system emerges.

3. Our field has a long history of splinter organization attempting to advocate for a sect of psychologists. However, these groups have never been able to survive with the notable exception of the APS (for a few reasons but that in itself is a separate discussion). So, another potential outcome is the APA does just enough to quiet down the revolting voices and the PCSAS dies off.

Just a quick point, I think it might actually be Mississippi that requires this; I believe Alabama just requires that it be APA-equivalent (at the discretion of the board).
 

Ollie123

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I'm not sure the goal of PCSAS is to supplant APA (i.e. make it so APA accreditation cannot lead to licensure). Rather, their goals seem more in line with the two-tier model - something that is unlikely to make a difference at the licensure level but could still make a large difference at the employment level. I think of it as akin to accredited vs. non-accredited at present - if one does not graduate from an APA program or attend an APA internship, there are whole sectors of employment from which one is essentially barred. Many of these are the most "prestigious", highest paying, and generally more desirable (to most) jobs. If PCSAS were to become what they imagine, I could see them pushing APA down into more of a middle tier with it being increasingly difficult for folks from APA programs to compete for jobs at VAs, AMCs, etc.

All that said, we're still a very long ways off from PCSAS having anything even approaching on that sort of clout. I think even achieving that even within a decade is (very) overly optimistic. At present, they aren't even recognized on their own so programs have to maintain dual accreditation. APA seems to be making some effort (or at least a show of effort) to address the internship problem, but this is only indirectly related to the goals of PCSAS. Their concern is about the dearth of scientific rigor and EBP training...issues many had with APA long before the internship crisis came into being. I have yet to see any indication APA is going to make a stand for psychological science. This is not entirely unrelated to the internship situation since there are some obvious correlates with program type and PCSAS would likely open a number of new avenues for internships that wouldn't be suitable or likely open to APA-only programs, but I think its important to keep in mind that the mission of PCSAS really has nothing to do with resolving the internship crisis.
 

futureapppsy2

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I'm not sure the goal of PCSAS is to supplant APA (i.e. make it so APA accreditation cannot lead to licensure). Rather, their goals seem more in line with the two-tier model - something that is unlikely to make a difference at the licensure level but could still make a large difference at the employment level. I think of it as akin to accredited vs. non-accredited at present - if one does not graduate from an APA program or attend an APA internship, there are whole sectors of employment from which one is essentially barred. Many of these are the most "prestigious", highest paying, and generally more desirable (to most) jobs. If PCSAS were to become what they imagine, I could see them pushing APA down into more of a middle tier with it being increasingly difficult for folks from APA programs to compete for jobs at VAs, AMCs, etc.

This is my concern with regards to balanced programs potentially getting left out of PCSAS and thus potentially grouped with FSPS as being on the same lower tier in terms of perceived training quality and program integrity.
 
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