Implications of the Affordable Care Act for the Practice of Family Psychology

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With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law No: 111–148, March 23, 2010), family psychologists must be prepared to practice using defined interprofessional competencies within an increasingly evidence-based, team-based, integrated health care system whether working in traditional mental health settings or in medical and surgical hospitals and clinics. This invited article describes several challenges facing family psychology and the opportunities that the changing health care system will provide for the next generation of professional psychologists and for those practicing psychologists ready to meet those challenges. Family psychology, with its systems approach, is uniquely prepared and poised for these opportunities. Structural modifications to the health system, including accountable care organizations and patient-centered health care homes, will be discussed. To help ensure success in the changing health care environment, specific recommendations are presented for the education and training of the next generation of health service psychologists, including those who focus on the practice of family assessment, intervention, and consultation.

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